Helping flood victims get back on their feet... in shoes

1/23/2008 | By: Jane Tors  |

Having seen the Fernley flood up close, Alissa Mortensen says the devastation is worse than she would have imagined. Mortensen, an administrative assistant in the Office of the Provost, lives up the street from the area that flooded Jan. 5, affecting thousands of residents. As she and her husband Jessen (’01 civil engineering, ’02 M.S. civil engineering), watched news coverage and helped friends muck out their flooded home, they were struck by one rather elemental loss: shoes.

One television news story in particular - showing a homeowner working to clean his home barefoot - led the Mortensens to join with friends in starting a drive to collect new shoes for flood victims.

“The problem is that some clothing can be washed, but shoes for the most part can’t. And, shoes are kept on the floor, so most (the homeowners) lost them all,” Alissa said.

She and her friends are intentionally collecting new shoes, rather than used. “They’ve lost so much; it would be nice to at least have new shoes,” she said.

Donated shoes of any size, for any age and either gender can be delivered or mailed to one of two locations in Fernley: Skyline Realty at 125 Main Street (next to the firehouse) or 2040 Farm District Road. The Joe Crowley Student Union has also signed on to assist with the effort by helping spread the word to clubs and organizations.

For more information or to e-mail a gift card for shoes, contact


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