CHARLOTTE, N.C. — According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing and Homelessness dashboard, as of January 2021, there were more than 3,000 people experiencing homelessness in the Charlotte area, a number that continues to increase since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Then with Uptown's Tent City being vacated so officials could control the rat issue that took over the homeless camp, homelessness has been an ongoing issue plaguing the Queen City.
But one Charlotte resident has had homelessness on her mind for years.
Emily Inch is the founder of Soles For Kids Shoe Drive, an organization the South Mecklenburg High School student started back in 2017 to raise awareness about homelessness.
Inch also wanted to provide a way for those who are less fortunate to have comfortable shoes during the winter and summer months.
In 2019 alone, she was able to collect nearly 2,000 new and gently used shoes for those in need, thanks to grants from the Disney Summer of Service program and help from the community.
This year, her goal is to donate 4,500 shoes for those in need at Charlotte's Crisis Assistance Ministries.
Inch hoping to inspire other young girls to give back and expand her reach.
“My end goal is to spread outside of North Carolina," Inch said. "I really hope we can expand in future years and possibly become a nonprofit."