It all started in a backyard of a North Aurora home. Tyger “Tyg” Taylor, founder of Wholly
Kicks, stood behind the house he would later buy when a man who wore a bowtie drifted through the alley. Taylor knew the man was a street guy and talked to him.
“He said he didn’t have a plan. He said he just came to love the neighborhood.” Taylor said while he described the talk that kickstarted his nonprofit that provides shoes to people in need of them, “After we chatted a bit he said, ‘I always wanted to walk in the shoes that Jesus walked in, but I suppose you can only walk in the shoes that God gives you.’”
Wholly Kicks gave more than 3,000 pairs of shoes in the last year. “If we bring 100 pairs of shoes, we’ll get rid of 100 pairs of shoes.” Taylor said.
Debby Rehn came to Taylor with a background in aiding nonprofits. She was impressed with the simple plan Taylor had to help people. According to Rehn, shoes are only one thing Taylor brings to these events.
“He builds community wherever he goes.” Rehn said. From Wholly Kicks a number of now
housed former recipients of the nonprofit have become community leaders. “The volunteers
walk away with more than the recipients.” She said.
One community leader who came out of Wholly Kicks started an event called Santa in the Park. The City of Aurora partnered with this plan to give children shoes in December. “He said to me ‘We’re going to the park. I have a Santa suit, and we’re going to give shoes in the park.’” Taylor said. Taylor was worried about this plan at first. It was cold outside. He thought it might be too much to handle. It became a successful event with over 300 new pairs of shoes departed from the Wholly Kicks’ bins.
“There was no plan to make these guys leaders.” Taylor said. “They became leaders
because their hearts were for other people.”
Wholly Kicks takes donations in two forms:
- Donate through the website: http://WhollyKicks.org. “Our answer is yes to any
amount.” Taylor said.
- Shop and send shoes. Wholly Kicks would prefer quantity and variety over expensive
shoes. A $20 pair of new shoes from Ross is perfect.