VINELAND, N.J. (CBS) — Today is Giving Tuesday, a movement to inspire charity at the beginning of the Christmas season. A small business owner in Vineland is doing his part to help the less fortunate.
“I’m third generation in the shoe business,” Brian Lankin said.
Since he was old enough to stock shoes and ring up customers, Lankin has been working at his father’s store, Al’s Shoes, on Landis Avenue in downtown Vineland.
Rather than compete with online and chain store’s cut-rate pricing, he’s maintained the business by focusing on quality and individual attention.
“People come here to get their foot measured, figure out what size they need, the width and what’s best for them,” Lankin said.
After 47 years running the business, Lankin’s father passed away in 2008. To honor him, each year around Christmas, Lankin gives away some of the store’s roughly 500,000 shoes to those in need.
“Last year I had four friends say, ‘Why don’t you get the community involved, make it a community project?’ So last year we went up to 1,000 shoes, 1,000 laces and 1,000 socks,” he said.
To get people involved and be a good steward of his father’s massive inventory, Lankin donates two pairs of shoes for every $10 people give.
This year, the goal is 2,500 shoes, laces and socks, and he’s getting a lot of help.
In addition to individual donations, Bombas Socks donated all 2,500 pairs of socks that Lankin was looking to gather.
And with a week to go, Lankin is more than halfway to his shoe goal.
“I think this is great. Brian is a staple of our community and what he’s doing immediately and directly impacts our community,” said Dr. Blake Trabuchi-Downey, of Trabuchi & Trabuchi Dental.
And don’t worry, even if he donates more than 2,500 pairs this year, Lankin won’t run out.
Lankin is willing to accept almost new shoes as part of his giveaway, but the goal is to give away all the new unused ones from the store.
To make a donation, you can contact Lankin on Facebook or call 856-691-1180.