Mitzvot from the Heart: Tali Feen

Tali Feen, Young Israel

Tali, whose full name is Talya, meaning dew from Hashem, wanted her project to connect with water, like her name. Daughter of Adi and Eli Feen of University City, Tali collected shoes for the Shoeman Water Projects.

Headquartered in Fenton, Mo, Shoeman Water Projects collects donated shoes – any kind, new or gently used – from schools, churches, businesses and shoe drives, exports the shoes to street vendors in places like Haiti, Kenya and South America and uses the funds from exporting for clean water programs in communities around the world.

Tali placed collection boxes at four locations in town: Bais Abraham Congregation, Epstein Hebrew Academy, the preschool at Ethical Society of St. Louis and the Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School. Information about the collection was included in each location’s newsletters. After three months, Tali collected 486 pairs of shoes, enough to repair a hand pump, which usually costs about $500.

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Throughout the three months, Tali’s family picked up the shoes and brought them home. She and her friends would get together on Sunday afternoons for shoe sorting, lace tying, and hot chocolate. Although they had a lot of fun, one friend said, “Tali, thank you for giving us the opportunity to do a mitzvah.”

A student at Epstein Hebrew Academy, Tali was overwhelmed with the generosity of the community. Becky Klotzer, development representative at Shoeman Water Projects, said Tali is such a responsible young lady and was impressed with how many pairs of shoes she collected. 

Each pair of shoes is sold for $1 to the street vendors. The money raised by the shoe sales provides well drilling rigs, water purification systems, repairs for hand pumps, and health and hygiene training to people who do not have clean water in their areas. 

For more information about Shoeman Water Projects, go to