by Linda St.Cyr, Contributing Writer
I had the pleasure of meeting two representatives of Soles4Soles at BlogHer ’11 in San Diego where I was able to learn more about the organization and what it stands for. Chris and Jeremy were two of the nicest guys, although guys were in limited supply at BlogHer, a girl could meet. You can see in their eyes how much the organization means to them and why the cause is so close to their hearts.
Since I don’t know when any of you will be able to meet Chris or Jeremy at an event, I decided I should tell you a little bit more about the organization and what they are doing to make a difference in the world today.
Soles4Souls, Inc. was founded by Wayne Esley in 2004 following the devastating tsunami that hit Southeast Asia. A picture of a single shoe washed ashore triggered an idea that would lead Esley to creating Soles4Souls, Inc. and help put shoes on over 15 million pairs of feet worldwide.
Some might ask, “Why shoes?” The truth of the matter is that shoes can prevent infections, diseases, burns, and other injuries that could lead to health issues later in life. Soles4Souls “Why Shoes?” webpage sums up the importance of shoes especially for children, “With the number of children living in abject poverty and therefore surviving at a scavenger's existence, the feet are at tremendous risk as the child hunts for food or household items in garbage dumps, abandoned housing/construction areas, or while crossing through open sewer trenches and contaminated areas.”
The organization takes new and gently used shoes, cleans them up, and then delivers them to those in need. Soles4Souls has delivered over 15 million pairs of shoes domestically and internationally. Volunteers with the organization have delivered shoes to children and families in need in over 127 countries.
Shoes are not the only concern for Esley and his volunteers. Clothing, toys, furniture and building materials are all items that can provide support to victims of natural disasters and those living in extreme poverty. Soles4Souls’ other two divisions, Clothes4Souls and Hope4Souls, focus on these efforts.
Visit Soles4Souls to find out how you can make a difference by cleaning out your closet, hosting a fundraiser or taking a trip to deliver shoes to those in need.
More by Linda:
Brazil’s “Zero Hunger” Program Offers Hope for the War on Poverty Worldwide
Child Poverty: America's Rising Crisis
World Humanitarian Day: Celebrating the Men and Women Making a Difference
Yum! Brands, Inc. Fights Hunger in Africa with $1M
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