AURORA, Colo. — This week, the Aurora-based nonprofit Wholly Kicks was set back a few steps, quite literally.
The nonprofit provides new shoes to unhoused communities across the Denver metro area. On Tuesday, organizers discovered one of their storage units had been broken into.
"Absolutely cleared us out, and we were left with two pairs of kicks in here," said Tyg Taylor, executive director of Wholly Kicks."We're just pretty sure that they climbed right over the top [of the unit]; the top level was damaged and it was pretty obvious they climbed their way right over."
The nonprofit rents three units at StorQuest in Aurora to store their shoes. Taylor said over the past two months, he started to notice inventory go missing.
"But nothing like what happened on Tuesday. Everything was gone," he said.
Most of the shoes that were stolen were adult sizes. A report has been filed with Aurora police.
Taylor said he isn't sure who would want to steal from them.
"Somebody just knew we had kicks in there. A lot of people see me at our unit, and maybe somebody tipped off somebody else. I don't feel violated per se, I just say, 'That's life.' It's the disruption in what we can do in the community. We gotta find a way to recoup that," he said.
Recouping what they lost includes hours of work done by him and his team.
"It's devastating. What it takes to secure the funds for 500 pairs of shoes, to prep those, to get those purchased and to get those in bins — it's a massive process," Taylor said.
Taylor emphasized that they only accept new shoes.
"We are called Wholly Kicks because we believe everybody is a whole person and that people deserve a brand new pair of kicks. The shoes aren't expensive Nikes or other brands, but solid athletic wear in the range of $25 to $35."
Taylor said he hopes whoever took the shoes from their storage unit will put them to good use.
"Someone will get those new kicks right? And I kind of just want to celebrate that," he said. "We just gotta keep walking forward. We got a nonprofit that's all about walking. So, we're going to keep walking, right? What else are we going to do?" Taylor said through a belted laugh.
Over the past year, the nonprofit has provided 3,000 pairs of new shoes to those in need.
Wholly Kicks hopes to move to a more secure storage unit the near future. To donate to the nonprofit, click here.