Max Miller first picked up a basketball when he was three years old. “I was always dribbling and shooting around as a kid,” said Max, now a Grade 12 student at Oak Bay High School.
As a child, Max battled medical issues and used basketball as an outlet. His outlet quickly grew into a strong passion. Throughout his early years, Max played in various leagues around Victoria while continuing to become more and more passionate about the game and the sense of community it provided. It wasn’t long before Max felt compelled to give back to his basketball community.
A GIVING SPIRIT
Max was just an elementary school student playing in a local Night League when he saw a player on the opposite team whose sneakers were falling apart. “I saw that his shoes weren’t working too well on the court so I gave him mine,” said Max.
This happened again in Grade 6. And then again in Grade 9. Max asked his middle school principal if he could create a program where gently-used basketball shoes—and footwear for other sports like soccer, rugby, and baseball—could be collected and then donated to families who couldn’t afford to purchase them new from the store. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough room.
So where did this spirit of giving come from? Well, Max’s mom works at the Sandy Merriman House—a shelter for homeless women—and has an initiative called ‘Toonie Grooves’. Every month folks donate toonies to the cause, which has now raised over fifty thousand dollars.
“I took after her,” said Max. “Just to see the smiles on people’s faces is pretty amazing.”
BEATERS TO HEATERS
Despite being unable to kick start his athletic footwear donation program in middle school, Max was undeterred. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, he brought the idea back to life as he figured it was a time when families might need help most.
Now, Beaters to Heaters has caught fire.
“With all my fellow teammates supporting the idea and spreading the word to their families and friends, we’re getting new donations every day.” Said Max.
Max has put the call out to the local basketball community to donate any gently-used shoes that they may be collecting dust in the back of a closet somewhere.
“I would love the opportunity to get shoes to families who can use them and hopefully bring some heat to the local courts.” Said Max. “I will set up a pick up day, once a week, and can provide an address upon request, for drop off.”
Max is starting with a focus on collecting basketball shoes for youth and adult players with hopes of expanding to other sports as his program grows. His Beaters to Heaters Instagram account (@b3aters_to_h3aters) is growing his audience while Max is collecting around more basketball shoes every day.
“The last time I counted we were over 150 pairs of basketball shoes.” Said Max. “The goal is to keep that number growing and get well past the 200 mark.”
If you have gently worn basketball shoes that you would like to donate, or if you would like to find out more about how you can help, you can follow @b3aters_to_h3aters on Instagram.
If you are in need of a pair of shoes, you can email Max at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will keep all requests anonymous.