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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Soles4Souls: Impacting Lives One Pair of Shoes at a Time

I must admit that I have a love affair with shoes – from sleek high heels and chunky flip-flops to sporty running shoes and chic boots. According to a recent poll taken by ShopSmart Magazine’s Consumer Reports Research Center, the average woman in the United States owns 19 pairs of shoes. Other surveys report that the average man in the US owns between 3 and 5 pairs of shoes. I personally own around 35 pairs of shoes. How many pairs of shoes are in your own closet? As of right now, there are more than 300 million children, and countless adults without proper footwear in the US and around the world. A pair of shoes for one of these individuals can stop the risk of puncture wounds, worms, disease and even amputation. Soles4Souls is an organization stepping up to provide those individuals with proper footwear. Based in Nashville, Soles4Souls is responsible for receiving and distributing more than 4 million pairs of shoes. Founder and CEO of Soles4Souls, Wayne Elsey, is a former footwear CEO. Together, he and Soles4Souls are on a mission to impact as many lives as possible with the gift of shoes. While the mission may seem like a small one, the difference made in the lives of the individuals receiving these shoes is phenomenal.
Started by Mr. Elsey (shown at right), who was deeply affected by the Asian Tsunami, Soles4Souls donated hundreds of thousands of pairs to the affected areas. In 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated Mississippi and Louisiana, Souls4Soles stepped up immediately. To date, they’ve donated more than a million pairs of shoes to victims.
While it’s shocking to know that there are so many people without proper footwear, what is even more shocking is the estimated 300 million pairs of shoes are thrown away each year in the US. Mr. Elsey brings it all into perspective when he says that if these shoes were lined up heel to toe, they would stretch from L.A. to New York and back again 20 times. Not only is this company helping individuals who truly need it, but they are doing their part by keeping these shoes from gathering in our landfills. Many individuals throw away shoes that are in great condition, too! Some moms throw their children’s shoes away when they outgrow them and many individuals throw shoes away because the fad is over or they are from last season. It’s wonderful to know that with just a little extra effort, your unwanted shoes can go to someone who desperately needs them. Soles4Souls has been given shoes and support from individuals like Jessica Alba, Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Simpson, Don Cheadle and many, many other celebrities. I will personally be cleaning out my closet very soon and rather than tossing my old shoes, they will be going straight to Soles4Souls. I challenge you to do the same. There are three warehouse locations you can ship your unwanted shoes to: Alabama (Primary Warehouse Facility) Soles4Souls, Inc. 315 Airport Road Roanoke, AL 36274 Tennessee Soles4Souls, Inc. 112 22nd Street Old Hickory, TN 37138 Nevada Soles4Souls, Inc. Foreign Trade Zone #89 6620 Escondido Street Las Vegas, Nevada 89119 Make a difference in the lives of those who really need it and in our environment when you think of Soles4Souls next time you’re cleaning out your shoe collection.

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Blogger Alice said...

This is an awesome group and a great philanthropy. Check out Tom's Shoes, too!


3/17/2009 10:41:00 PM  

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