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Westminster couple collecting shoes to fund adoption

A Westminster couple is collecting used pairs of shoes to raise money to adopt a child.

Heather and Robert Blum have collected 200 pairs of shoes so far and hope to get 1,000 more. They partnered with the company Angel Bins that pays people money based on how many shoes they collect. The Blum’s fundraiser started in November and ends June 8.

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Heather Blum said in an interview she has a connective tissue disease and there’s a 50% chance she could pass it to her child if she chose to have one. She said the side effects “wouldn’t be worthwhile having our own child.”

They decided to pursue adoption instead and are looking at South Korea and Ukraine as potential locations from which to adopt.

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Both Heather and Robert Blum are first responders who have helped the community through their jobs.

“We’re hoping others can help us at this point,” Heather Blum said.

Robert and Heather Blum with some of the hundreds of pairs of shoes they have collected while raising money to adopt a child from overseas at their home in Westminster Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2020. Back in the fall, the Blums partnered with Angel Bins for a shoe drive. They collect dozens of pairs, and Angel Bin pays for them. The couple has collected 200 pairs so far and hope to collect 1,000 more by June.
Robert and Heather Blum with some of the hundreds of pairs of shoes they have collected while raising money to adopt a child from overseas at their home in Westminster Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2020. Back in the fall, the Blums partnered with Angel Bins for a shoe drive. They collect dozens of pairs, and Angel Bin pays for them. The couple has collected 200 pairs so far and hope to collect 1,000 more by June. (Dylan Slagle/Carroll County Times)

Kay Litwan, a senior fundraising coordinator with Angel Bins, said the Blums are running a mixed shoe drive.

“They will be receiving $.40/pound of shoes, raising $600+,” she said in an email.

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She said Angel Bins receives and processes roughly 250,000 pair of shoes each year and have been running since 2012.

Litwan said Angel Bins, based in Los Angeles, has worked with dozens of other residents in Maryland but the Blums are the only active fundraiser in Carroll County. Angel Bins has also worked all over the continental United States.

The Blums are asking the donated shoes be “gently worn.” It’s a fun and safe way to raise funds while also keeping socially distant, they said in an emailed statement to the Times. The shoes can be all sizes but cannot be heels, fuzzy slippers or metal cleats.

After Angel Bins collects the shoes, they clean them, sort them and send them to micro-entrepreneurs in developing nations that allow people to create businesses and jobs for people in local communities. The income helps support families and place shoes on the feet of community members.

The shoe drive isn’t the only way Heather and Robert Blum are raising money. They created a Facebook page called “Growing our Crew” where they post bake sales and gift card giveaways as a way to fundraise. They held a homemade pumpkin pie fundraiser in late October, advertised a bag of coal gag gift in November, hot cocoa bombs were sold later that month and they sold lottery tickets for a chance to win handbags.

If interested in donating shoes, call 443-974-4785 or email Hanske2008@gmail.com.

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