Dinking Divas’ Shoe Drive Hits an Overhead Slam

Deborah Witten, “Mother Diva,” who led the shoe drive

Jerry Faye

On March 12,  the Dinking Divas of SaddleBrooke Ranch sponsored a shoe drive to provide shoes for homeless people in the Tucson region. Members of the Dinking Divas accepted donations at the SaddleBrooke Ranch pickleball courts between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. They were overwhelmed by the response with more than 900 pairs of mens and womens shoes being donated. This was almost double the number of shoes donated at their 2023 drive. “Mother Diva Deborah Witten, who led the drive, and the team of Divas who sorted and bagged the shoes, said, “We exceeded our expectations and want to thank all the SaddleBrooke Ranch residents who contributed shoes and of course all the Divas who helped prepare the shoes for distribution. Shoes are one of the most-needed items for the homeless, and programs have indicated that the demand always exceeds the availability.”

The original plan was to take all the shoes collected to the Gospel Rescue Mission Shelter Program located on a collaborative campus where more than 30 social service organizations work together to holistically address mental, physical, and spiritual issues to move individuals from homelessness to wholeness. However, because of the great number of shoes donated, other homeless programs will also receive shoes. These other programs include:

* The Salvation Army Hospitality House, which is open 24/7 providing emergency shelter for those in need. It has a 100-bed facility with separate accommodations for men and women, and two family apartments.

* The Z Mansion in downtown Tucson where a weekly Sunday brunch and brown bag lunch is provided to more than 200 homeless people.

* The Casa Maria Soup Kitchen, a Catholic worker house, feeding more than 700 people daily.

* Sister Jose’s Women’s Center, dedicated to the care of women experiencing homelessness in a welcoming and safe environment.