The members of Delta Sigma Theta sorority held their first shoe drive as part of a regional initiative to spread awareness for victims of domestic violence.

"October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so we figured that now is the time to get the word out," senior K'Lynne Robinson, a member of Delta Sigma Theta said.

Brand-new pairs of shoes will be donated to the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of Richmond.

"Countless women across America flee their homes in the middle of the night with only the clothes on their backs," junior Sydney Cooke, president of Delta Sigma Theta, said. "These victims of domestic violence must start their lives anew without many of the things we take for granted, including shoes."

The members of Delta Sigma Theta posted information on SpiderBytes and flyers around campus, tabled in the Tyler Haynes Commons and made announcements at other organizations' meetings, in addition to enabling social media like Facebook to spread the word about "Stepping Out on Faith."

The five members of Delta Sigma Theta who are on campus this semester received more than 20 pairs of shoes that they will take to YWCA by early November, along with a monetary donation from a profit-share held at Moe's on Oct. 26.

The members of Delta Sigma Theta decided to donate to YWCA because it is a smaller shelter that can often be overlooked because of its size, Cooke said.

"It is important that we do not allow ourselves to become trapped in the Richmond bubble," Cooke said. "We must go beyond the university and do what we can to help those in need in the surrounding greater Richmond community."

Richmond's Rho Rho chapter of Delta Sigma Theta decided to collaborate with the Eta Tau chapter at Virginia Commonwealth University after leaders from both chapters attended the Virginia state fall meeting.

Each person who attended the meeting was asked to donate one pair of new shoes, so it seemed only natural that the two universities would continue the initiative.

When women flee their homes to go to a shelter, they are met with much-needed clothing and shoes.

"This makes a huge difference in their lives," Robinson said. "The littlest thing can help. So we're definitely trying to make an impact in that way."

Cooke reiterated the sentiment:"It is an amazing feeling to know that such a small chapter, such as our own, can make such a large impact on our community."

Although this was the first year hosting "Stepping Out on Faith," the members of Delta Sigma Theta are making the drive an annual philanthropy event.

Throughout November, Delta Sigma Theta will be hosting another drive, this time a clothing drive called UR Closet. Drop-off boxes will be in residence hall laundry rooms, and all donations will be made to St. Joseph's Villa, a non-profit organization dedicated to children in need.

Contact reporter Julie Crandell at julie.crandell@richmond.edu