Soles4Souls is a non-profit organization based out of Nashville that provides new or gently used shoes to those in need. Since 2005, the organization has donated over 17 million shoes to countries across the world including Kenya, Nepal, Thailand, and The United States.
The history behind the start of the organization is interesting. It started with one man watching the television news. The website describes it well:
In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami that hit Southeast Asia, Wayne Elsey, the Founder ofSoles4Souls® Inc., felt compelled to do something. Like many of us, he did not know what to do. He was at home one night, watching TV and he saw a picture of a single shoe washing up on the beach. That triggered a few calls to some other executives in the footwear industry and the subsequent donation of a quarter of a million shoes to victims in the devastated countries.
A few months later when Katrina hit, Wayne called the same group of friends, and through our continued support, we have sent over a million pairs of shoes down to the gulf coast communities affected by the hurricane. In all honesty, he admits that he did not expect such an immediate and successful turnout. This left him wondering, why not start a non-profit and do this all the time? One year later, Soles4Souls was formally created.
We are very excited to be partnering with Soles4Souls by doing an employee-wide shoe drive for the organization. The last two weeks in July, our locations will be competing to see who can donate the most shoes to the organization. There will be bins at each store for our employees use, and we are encouraging them to donate as much as they can.
We are working with Stacey Reed, a local Memphian who is doing her own personal shoe drive in the Memphis region. Her goal is to collect 30,000 pairs of shoes by the end of this year! Stacey got her start in Soles4Souls in 2010 when her cousin, who has Huntington’s Disease, started her own shoe drive to collect shoes for Haiti after the earthquake. Together they collected over 1000 pairs.
Stacey has recieved a lot of support in her efforts to collect 30,000 pairs of shoes. She has drop off boxes at every Memphis Fire Department, as well as many offices, schools, and churches. She even has the Office of Sustainability working with her. In the future, she hopes to establish a permanent drop off site and storage location. She is currently looking for a company who can donate that space.
Hopefully, we will make Stacey’s goal of 30,000 shoes a little more reachable for her. If you would like to learn how to help Stacey reach her goal, visit her Facebook page. You can also read the blog entry she wrote for the Soles4Souls website.