Saturday, June 30, 2012

SOLES4SOULS: "Changing the world one pair at a time"

           In December 2004, Wayne Elsey, executive of a shoe company at the time, was watching news coverage of the tsunami in Southeast Asia.  Five million people lost EVERYTHING to this natural disaster.  On his television, he saw a picture of a single shoe on the beach.  This image bothered him, and he decided to do something about it.  He contacted his connections in the shoe industry.  Over a period of 8 weeks, he collected 250,000 pairs of shoes to be sent to Southeast Asia.

In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the US.  Wayne decided to try again to help all the people whose lives were turned upside down by the disaster.  Over a period of 8 weeks, he collected 1 million pairs of shoes! 

He approached his friends with the idea to start this charity.  In the past six years, they have distributed 13 million pairs of shoes.  Every 7 seconds, they put a pair of shoes on someone’s feet in over 125 countries.

Sadly, there are still 300 million kids in this world who do not have a pair of shoes.  Even worse, Americans throw away 300 million pairs of shoes every year that sit and rot in our landfills.  Soles4Souls not only provides shoes for those in need, but they are helping to save our planet by reducing shoes tossed in our landfills.

When shoes are donated, they are graded:
            New shoes or those in excellent condition are immediately distributed in the US or abroad.

            Lower grade shoes are packed for distribution…some go to developing countries like Haiti, Tanzania, and Honduras.  People there clean and recondition the shoes to sell locally.  This creates jobs for those who need them as well as affordable shoes for those who would otherwise not have them.

            Shoes in poor condition are sent to recyclers in Pakistan who salvage usable materials from the shoes. 

For more information and to watch a moving video, please check out the Soles4Soles website.

Our troop collected 138 pairs of shoes to donate to Soles4Souls!  Currently Soles4Souls is trying to meet the needs of the victims of the Colorado wildfire.  It only takes a couple minutes to go through a closet…  Thanks for reading!

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