LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – It’s been a tough year for many non-profit organizations. Many had to cancel major fundraisers because of the pandemic. And over the weekend, Lansing-based nonprofit, Footprints of Michigan suffered another blow.
This Saturday, after taking a break for the holidays, Geronimo Lerma opened the doors of the nonprofit’s ‘Mobile Shoe Closet’ to find someone had stole dozens of pairs of shoes and multiple items from inside.
“Anything that they thought that was worth of value they took,” Lerma said.
Lerma says among the things the organization lost was a radio, a speaker system, and dozens of shoes.
He says all those items are replaceable, but his main concern is making sure people who need winter boots can still get access to them. “We had the snowfall that came and those boots could have actually went out to somebody that needed them, instead of whatever they’re going to do with them,” he said.
Lerma says he’s working with police to try and find who did this, but so far no arrests have been made. Two days ago he opened a GoFundMe account asking for help to install an alarm system.
“You know you never think this would happen to an organization, a charity that’s helping people out. But we have to take one measure higher now to prevent this from happening again,” Lerma said.
Lerma says he’s thankful for all the donations. “The support from the community has been outstanding… like I said we never figured we made that kind of impact you know,” he said.
And despite feeling hurt and disappointed, he says Footprint of Michigan’s mission of helping others will continue. “I was always brought up with the faith and the hope and that keeps us going… that keeps me going,” Lerma said.
If you would like to help, here is a link to Footprint of Michigan’s GoFundMe page. Lerma says people can also donate new or gently used winter boots and coats.