A Pair of Shoes To Call Their Own

circle of shoes

The luxury of affording a new pair of shoes is probably not something you think about everyday. Our shoes become worn and pushed to the back of the closet to make room for their shiny, new replacements. If you donate your old or “gently used” shoes, then that is great. If not, then consider this a lesson in sustainability and an opportunity to help others who wouldn’t mind “walking in your shoes.”

The mission of Nashville-based Soles4Souls is simple, “to impact as many lives as possible with the gift of shoes.” They are “Shoe People Helping the World™.” In less than five (5) years, Wayne Elsey’s Soles4Souls has managed to provide more than three million shoes to victims of natural disasters like the 2004 Asian tsunami (the event that birthed this charitable organization), Hurricane Katrina, and just people in need. Donations are received from “footwear companies, retailers, churches, nonprofit ministries, civic groups, schools, and individuals” of new and “gently used” shoes. Earlier this year in Florida, they received a large, unexpected donation of shoes that, “fell from above.” It is believed that they fell from a truck carrying shoes that, because of their condition, would have probably ended up in a landfill. Although the shoes littered the highway and caused a traffic jam for hours, someone’s “trash” is going to became the treasures of many people who will be able to call one pair of shoes their own.

One of the reasons I really like this organization is because Soles4Souls not only aides people abroad, but doesn’t forget about the people in need here at home in America. I became involved with collecting shoes last year because I wanted to aid in their efforts of making a difference. My children had a great time helping me collect the shoes around our home for donation. It gave me an opportunity to teach my children about sustainability and helping others. We also cleared some clutter and were able to make more closet space available (yes for some new shoes and a few others things), which wasn’t too bad either.

There are several ways to donate and help as well as many drop-off locations throughout the country, and right here in TN, making it easier for you to make shoe donations. You can start at home by collecting shoes that are no longer used by your family. If your children’s school, your church, etc. is looking for a way to make a positive difference, then Soles4Souls would love to be the recipients of your efforts.

What are the oldest pair of shoes you own?

worn out pair of shoes

I’ve had these shoes for more than eight years. The treads are gone and the fabric holding them together is pulling away. Believe it or not, my shoes would be a welcomed donation, but I think I’ll keep them. If Souls4Souls can take these and make them “new” again, then imagine what they can do with the shoes you thought were not wearable. So, clean out your closets and donate!

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