Phoenix Mercury keeps Griner’s annual tradition alive by handing out shoes to people in need

WNBA superstar Brittney Griner founded the “BG’s Heart and Sole Shoe Drive” in 2016 after seeing many homeless people walking around without shoes in the city
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 10:21 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Phoenix Mercury teammates and staff joined together Tuesday morning to continue an annual tradition of handing out shoes, hygiene kits, water, and other necessities to people in need.

WNBA superstar Brittney Griner founded the “BG’s Heart and Sole Shoe Drive” in 2016 after seeing many homeless people walking around without shoes in the city. It all started with a simple request to drive around with shoes in her trunk, but it grew as the team established a shoe drive and partnered with the Phoenix Rescue Mission. She would also go around the community using the Mission’s mobile “Hope Coach” to deliver shoes directly.

But as Griner remains locked up in a Russian prison, facing extensive jail time and penalties after allegations of smuggling vape cartridges into the country, her teammates are making sure that her legacy in the community continues to live on no matter what.

On Tuesday, Arizona’s Family reporter Gibby Parra stopped by the Mission Possible Café near 15th and Van Buren avenues, where volunteers, players, and even the president of the Phoenix Mercury were helping perform outreach to those in need.

“Brittany Griner has always led with her heart and in her absence, it’s our duty to do good in her name. We invite you to help in any way you can,” said Mercury President Vince Kozar. Officials say the drive has collected more than 1,500 pairs of shoes and raised more than $14,000 for Phoenix Rescue Mission, already making it the largest drive so far.