Pickleball Association Joins Tennis Shoes for the Homeless Program

Jerry Fay

The SaddleBrooke Ranch Pickleball Association has joined the SaddleBrooke Pickleball Association and the SaddleBrooke Tennis Club as part of the Tennis Shoes for the Homeless Program. A big thank you goes to Kim Ahlgrim-Heine, current president of the SaddleBrooke Ranch Pickleball Association, for setting up the program. Over the past four years, the program has donated more than 1,700 pairs of used tennis shoes and other types of used shoes to the homeless facilities in the Tucson region.

Currently the program is focusing distribution of shoes to two locations serving homeless women, men, and children: The Z Mansion and the Gospel Rescue Mission. The Z Mansion provides a weekly Sunday brunch and bag lunch to more than 200 individuals, plus a soup kitchen every day, and limited medical services. The Gospel Rescue Mission provides daily food, showers, and a safe place to sleep—the kind of security necessary to individuals and families seeking a second chance in life. Shoes that are donated to these organizations are always the first items to go because the people they serve are always desperate for a good pair of shoes.

One of the Z Mansion volunteers made it clear how necessary this program is: “We wanted to thank you so much for dropping off the shoes. They are the most coveted clothing item at the Z Mansion. Please thank all the pickleball and tennis players who contributed. Because of their generosity, many homeless people will be able to walk in comfort.”

Shoes from the program have also been provided to the Salvation Army, Sister Jose’s Woman’s Center, Casa Maria’s Homeless Shelter, and Casa Alita’s Homeless Shelter.

Shoes of any type are one of the top needs at all homeless shelters, as well as being in the highest demand. Obviously, the need far exceeds the number of shoes currently being provided, and if others in the SaddleBrooke communities would like to donate gently used wearable shoes—or even new shoes—of any type, there are three donation locations. Bins marked “Used Tennis Shoes for the Homeless” are located at the SaddleBrooke Ranch pickleball courts, SaddleBrooke pickleball courts, and SaddleBrooke Tennis Center.