Thanks to the ambition and generosity of four superyacht crewmembers participating in the Put Foot Rally Charity Drive, numerous southern African kids will get their first pair of school shoes.
More than 150 cars will attempt to drive 9,000-kilometers in 18 days throughout six southern African countries for the Put Foot Rally. After their June 15 registration in Cape Town, South Africa, the teams will start the rally the next day from there and end their journey in Mozambique on July 4. The Put Foot charity’s overall goal is to raise funds for 1,000 brand-new school shoes for young, underprivileged learners across southern Africa — including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique. The “shoe drop” is in Zambia, where they’ll personally put school shoes on the children themselves. Team Rusty Roosters Crew’s goal is to raise US$8,000; each new pair of shoes costs $13.
Joining Team Rusty Roosters Crew are Chief Engineer Sam Smith and Chief Stewardess Jaime-li Roux of M/Y Lagniappe, Chief Engineer Ashley Biggs of M/Y Eileen, and Lead Deckhand Christopher King of M/Y Abbracci. Teams get to choose their vehicle, and the Rusty Roosters Crew will drive through each country in a 1998 Jeep Cherokee. Since 100 percent of all the donations they raise goes straight to the foundation for the children, the team is responsible for things like the cost of food, gear, camp sites, border crossings, fuel, and the car itself.
At each country, there’s a meeting checkpoint where every participant has to attend — you get disqualified if you do not arrive. “At these checkpoints, the ‘Put Foot Rally’ will host a themed party, cold beers, and some food,” says Smith. “We are quite looking forward to meeting some of these adventurists!”
Incidentally, Smith and Roux aren’t just teammates; they’re a couple. Together, they’ve been working hard: while he works on fundraising and getting the car ready, she does the administration and planning. “Jaime and I have always wanted to do a big adventurous drive and what better than doing it for such a good cause? We can’t wait for the experience this brings,” he says. Aside from the adventure though, Smith says there’s something even more important to his crew: “We get that sense of joy in making someone so very, very happy with something that is so small to us and taken for granted in first world countries.”
“In Africa, shoes are seen as a luxury, but more importantly, they are something that help children in their basic travels to school and back to improve their daily life,” Roux writes on the team’s charity fundraiser page. “These shoes provide warmth in winter and the protection of extreme heat in summer.” Smith points out that as yacht crew, “most of us never see REAL poverty” since the superyacht world is one of the most luxurious industries anywhere. He says that even if someone can only give a small amount, they’ll see how positively it will affect a child on the other side of the world.
Team Rusty Roosters Crew has already received some generous donations from companies like Rybovich Marina, AME Solutions, Yacht Spares, and Mendol USA. At the time of press, they’ve raised about $5,000 of their $8,000 target. To help them reach their goal, visit the team’s fundraising page at www.givengain.com/ap/rustyroosters. You can follow their journey on Instagram @rustyroosterscrew, where they will be posting photos in every country along the way, including those of the kids being fitted with shoes.
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