Outside linebacker Shane Ray will launch his new charity program, Shane's Shoes, at Viewhouse Centennial on Monday, Dec. 19. Ray hopes Broncos fan can bring a pair of new or slightly used shoes to donate, and those who do will receive an autographed shirt. Ray will deliver the donated shoes to Denver Rescue Mission on Dec. 20. Ray's foundation, Rays Awareness, aims to help low-income families in Denver and his hometown of Kansas City.
DenverBroncos.com caught up with Ray ahead of the Broncos game against New England to find out more about Shane's Shoes.
Aric DiLalla: Where did the idea for Shane's Shoes originate?
Shane Ray:My foundation is called Rays Awareness, and one of the branches is Shane's Shoes. Shane's Shoes started because there were some kids in Kansas City that couldn't get shoes because they were big kids. And my mom came to me and was like, 'Do you have any shoes that you don't wear anymore that you want to give away.' So I gave my mom like 15 pairs of shoes, and she went back to Kansas City, and it was a really big turnout. Afterward, me and my mom sat down and talked and she was like, 'You should really continue to do this.' And that's where Shane's Shoes started, and it's just kind of carried now.
AD: What does it mean to you to be able to partner with the Denver Rescue Mission?
SR: It's awesome to be able to [work] with them and combine my charity with what they're doing. It means a lot to help kids out … in Denver, as well, and not just back home where I'm from.
AD: How meaningful is it for you to help out in the community since I know you had some tough times growing up?
SR: I just remember growing up, and every age that I was, [that] was my shoe size. It just kept harder and harder to get shoes. And then when I was 15 years old, wearing a [size] 14 — it was tough. I had maybe two or three pairs of shoes that I wore all year. I just look back at that and think if I can help some kids out and give them some shoes, it's something minor but it means a lot to them.
AD: What type of shoes should people bring? Sneakers, boots, cleats?
SR: Any type of shoes you want to bring that can help somebody that doesn't have anything on their feet!