Fontana shoe distribution

 In order to create great change, you inevitably have to take a courageous first step. Oxford & Amies, a San Bernardino County nonprofit hoping to ease and thwart homelessness issues, did just that back in 2018. Working with a variety of dedicated and charitable people and organizations, Angela Amie and her husband launched the organization with great hopes of offering assistance and shedding light on significant homelessness issues.

“The name Oxford is for shoes and ‘Amie’ for friends, which also happens to be our last name,” says Founder/Community Relations Specialist Angela Amie. “People think that we’re just a shoe charity, but the premise of what we do is getting people’s feet off the ground. Yes, at all our events, we do supply shoes, however, we incorporate education, career training resources, and mental health awareness trainings.”

“We’re not just like saying we want to get shoes on your feet because you don’t have shoes,” she adds, “but that we know the value of information and education, and the need for training.”

Understanding that various homeless individuals may need job and career assistance, Oxford & Amies strives to help people reach the next level of understanding and advancement.

“It’s not just shoes,” Amie notes. “It’s literally the ability to help somebody be able to get to that next step because you know you can’t kind of do anything without shoes.”

Shoes, or the lack thereof, have become one of the most visible signs of poverty in the United States. Providing shoes often translates into a feeling of dignity and joy, which, considering the recent statistics, makes a huge difference in the lives of homeless individuals.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the homeless population in America hovered above 650,000 in 2023. Last year, KTLA reported that homelessness rose across the Inland Empire, with San Bernardino County’s homeless population rising nearly 26 percent. Riverside County reported 3,725 unhoused individuals in 2023, an uptick from 3,316 in 2022.

Recently, Oxfords and Amies received a Black Equity Fund grant from the Inland Empire Community Foundation. Amie says the resources helped the nonprofit launch a maternal health development component to the organization.

Maternal health teacher Gwendolyn, a registered nurse who prepared bags for mothers in a local shelter.

The idea found momentum after one of the nonprofit’s board members, who worked on the OBGYN side of healthcare, decided to serve low-income mothers by providing training about healthcare during and after pregnancy.

“Because of the grant, we were to expand our reach because normally, we’re not always able to get so specific,” Amie says. “Most of the time, we go out and find locations that are in the heart of where low-income individuals are, and hope they come out to us, but with this particular grant, we knew where we were going to as opposed to hoping that they can get to us. Our board member did the training, then we were able to gift the moms.”

The organization’s reach stretches beyond providing donated shoes. Leaping off its main founding intention—to compensate for San Bernardino County’s homeless issues—Oxfords & Amie’s offers targeted assistance in rental assistance and fighting poverty. All that thanks, in part, to unique partnerships with corporations and volunteer groups and individual donations.

Another standout initiative revolves around enhancing one’s overall well-being by linking proper footwear to listening to one’s favorite music. To that end, the organization strives to educate its clients and donors about the effectiveness of having well-cushioned shoes, for instance, and access to music.

Amie shares that the combination of the two creates the emotional and psychological health benefits of music, noting, ” Your well-being needs to be whole.”

To learn more about Oxford & Amies, or to inquire about volunteering, visit

This story originally appeared in the Press Enterprise, March 2024

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