Students Seeking Shoe & Pen Pal Donations at Arcadia Flea Market to Help Refugees & Immigrants

Arcadia University’s Community and Civic Engagement Center  (CCEC) is collecting shoes to support Better Shelter; which helps refugees, and writing supplies for First Friends of New Jersey, a non-profit that benefits immigrants.  Shoes and writing supplies can be dropped off at the Community Flea Market happening this Sunday at Arcadia University.

The bi-annual Community Flea Market is Sunday, September 16, from 10 am to 3 pm will be our bi-annual community flea market.There will be approximately 120 vendors selling a variety of things from clothes to food to knick knacks. The market is student run and all proceeds made by the CCEC will go toward the next Alternative Spring Break trip, where students travel to help relief efforts in various areas.

The first collection drive runs until October 13th and is asking for writing supplies in response to the immigrant crisis. The goal is to assist First Friends of New Jersey, New York a group that supports immigrant detainees who have been separated from their families.

First Friends of New Jersey, New York Needs:

  • Stamps (forever)
  • Note cards
  • Writing paper
  • Envelopes
  • 2-ply folders
  • Pens & pencils
  • Greeting cards
  • Soft cover Spanish books
  • English & Spanish board games

First Friends of New Jersey, New York’s (FFNJNY) mission is to make sure detainees that their privacy and rights are being respected. FFNJNY manages a pen pal program to ensure detainees have ongoing contact with someone outside of the detention center. Some of these immigrants have lived in local correctional centers for years, and the Pen Pal program helps them stay in touch with family. The state of Pennsylvania will not accept such materials for immigrants.

CCEC’s second ongoing collection is seeking shoe donations to help benefit Better Shelter, an organization that that coordinates the construction of durable, cost efficient shelters for refugees.  All the shoes collected go to Community Recycling in Bensalem as part of a cost-free recycling program focused on sustainability through recycling. Their goal is to create real environmental, economic, and social impacts by reusing everyday materials such as clothes and shoes. The money raised by the CCEC from the shoe donation is then given to Better Shelter an organization whose mission is to build safe, temporary housing for refugees all over the world in conjunctions with the UN Refugee Agency. The shelters erected in and around refugee camps to provide relief for displaced and desperate refugees.

Shoes TO Drop-Off:
  • Gently used pairs
  • Able to be reused
  • Mens/womens/kids
  • Athletic shoes
  • Casual shoes
  • Dress shoes
  • Work boots
  • Sneakers
  • Sandals
  • Heels
  • Flats Loafers
Shoes NOT to Drop-Off:
  • Holes in soles
  • Wet/Mildewed
  • Single shoes
  • Flip flops/plastic shoe
  • Slippers
  • Ski/Winter boots
  • Roller skates/blades
  • Ice skates
Collection Locations for Shoes & Pen Pal Supplies at Arcadia University:

The CCEC is looking for community support as another way the student-run organization gives back to the community. Questions can be emailed to

The CCEC will be selling pants in decorative bowls at the Flea Market, and all of the proceeds will fund the Alternative Spring Break trip next semester. This a program is designed to send students to a disaster area to aid in relief efforts. Last year a group of students traveled to Texas to help with flood relief, and this year they hope to travel to Puerto Rico to assist with Hurricane Maria recovery.