Wednesday, March 28, 2007

As Seen in the ARIZONA REPUBLIC:


Donate Your Shoes

Give shoes you've cleaned out of your closet to Soles4Souls. If you have bigger ambitions, go to its Web site (www.soles4souls.org) and see how you can organize a shoe drive. The organization distributes gently used footwear to victims of natural disasters worldwide.

Details: 1-866-521-SHOE.

[Thanks for the coverage!]

View it online at www.azcentral.com

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Soles for Souls (Observer & Eccentric Newspaper)

By Kate Phillips, SPECIAL WRITER

It started with a tiny kernel.

One person had an idea to collect shoes for those in need. Thanks to the generosity of the people of South Lyon, the kernel has popped into an entire tub full of buttery popcorn.

A massive shoe drive is happening in South Lyon for the entire month of March. New and gently used shoes in all sizes are being collected at local businesses - Jazzercise, Perfect Package, Family Financial, Wellness For You and The South Lyon Herald.

The shoes will be given to Active Faith and an international organization called Soles4Souls.

It all started when Kymm Loch of South Lyon noticed a blurb about Soles4Souls in a fitness magazine. The local massage therapist thought it sounded interesting and tore out the page.

Then as Loch watched a TV program about a charitable endeavor by Oprah Winfrey, the kernel started spinning around in her head. Loch felt a little discouraged thinking that since she hasn't the wealth of Oprah, she couldn't make an impact.

"I was thinking 'What can I do?'" said Loch. "I considered a couple of possibilities, then I remembered that page I had torn out of the magazine. I felt like this was something I could do."

At first Loch decided to extend the shoe collection to clients at her massage therapy business, "Wellness For You." She's offering $1 off treatment for each pair of donated shoes, up to 10 pairs.

But then the popcorn started popping wildly when she thought of a way to get more exposure for the shoe drive. Loch decided to ask Jamie Martin at Jazzercise of South Lyon to help collect the shoes. Loch works out regularly at the new fitness center.

"They have as many people in one class as I might see during the whole month," said Loch. "I thought that this could get really big if they were willing to help."

Almost as soon as Loch opened her mouth, Martin was on board. It's the type of thing she loves.
"We're really excited about this," Martin said. "It's so easy because everyone has a pair of shoes they don't wear anymore that are still in great shape. It's something anyone can help with."

So the pair decided to set a goal of 5,000 shoes by the end of March. They hope to cover the fitness center floor with shoes.

Since shipping 5,000 shoes to Soles4Souls in Alabama will cost a tremendous amount, Martin and Loch are asking for a donation of $1 with each pair of shoes to defray shipping. The donation is suggested but isn't required.

Perfect Package of South Lyon jumped aboard to help with packing supplies or shipping costs and serving as a drop-off point.

Since the shoe drive has started, it seems as if everyone that hears about it wants to help out. Instead of bringing in one pair, many people are bringing in 10 or 20. Others are actually collecting shoes from people they know.

Loch, a mother of three, asked her daughter's teacher at Millennium Middle School if they could open the collection to the class. It's turned into a "competition" between the sixth grade.

When Loch mentioned it to a friend who works at Macy's in Novi, the kind heart offered to take up a collection of shoes among the employees. The same thing happened with a consultant for Arbonne. A Novi church has also collected shoes and made a donation to help with shipping.
Even several South Lyon High School sports teams have joined the shoe drive team.

"The blessings have started falling like dominoes," said Loch. "I can't believe it's gotten so big. I get goosebumps when I think about it. At their core, people are good and they want to help."

The women decided to make this shoe drive benefit the South Lyon community, so they asked Active Faith to write out a wish list with specific numbers and types of shoes the non-profit could use. They'll fill the wish list for Active Faith first, then donate the rest to Soles4Souls.

Any type of shoes that are in good condition are acceptable, as long as the pair is secured with a rubber band or string.

To find out more contact Jazzercise at (248) 486-3674 or Wellness For You at (248) 486-3254. For information on Soles4Souls go to www.soles4souls.org.

Soles4Souls Founder Wayne Elsey Featured in E! Online

As seen on E! Online:

Why don't celebs adopt American kids?

Is there something wrong with America? Why do celebrities always seem to go outside of the country to adopt or open schools or help people? There are plenty of poor people here in our country who could use money or help.—Katy, Oakland, California

The B!tch Replies: Scale, baby, scale. Performers love everything around them to be big. Big, baby! Big-budget movies with massive helicopters making gargantuan explosions over towering dinosaurs and Olympian volcanoes spewing tons of nuclear waste over Herculean spacecraft from not Mars, not Venus...but JUPITER, baby!

Same deal with charities. Why help a few hundred folks who need shelters or reproductive education when you can help thousands who will die in the next six months without your intervention? Now, that's a Hollywood elevator pitch.

By those standards, the neediest of all continents these days appears to be Africa, which in many areas remains devastated by war, famine and disease. That, charities say, is the main reason celebrities focus on Sudan, Sierra Leone and Namibia rather than Appalachia or even hurricane-devastated New Orleans.

"You and I, walking down the streets of Nashville or Chicago, see homeless people," explains Wayne Elsey, founder of the charity Soles4Souls, "but we don't see a refugee camp of 40,000 people under 17, where half of them may be dead in six months because of disease."

Ergo, Scarlett Johansson recently teamed with Reebok and Soles4Soles to donate 2,000 pairs of shoes to the needy in Sudan, while Don Cheadle and Jessica Alba have both donated autographed pairs of sneaks to the same cause.

And it certainly hasn't hurt that St. George of Clooney and Angelina Assumpta have also visited unto Africa and seen that it is good.

Speaking of Angelina, you also asked about adoption. Adopting from Ethiopia—home of Jolie's daughter, Zahara Marley—can be faster than other international or domestic adoptions. Same goes for Vietnam, where Jolie's adoption of three-year-old orphan Pax Thien was completed less than a year after she first started filing paperwork and whatnot.

Another media report claims that, in the U.S., adoptions can actually be more complicated. Prospective parents have to be approved by a birth mother and wait for the mother and father to cede parental rights before a handover can happen. Not so overseas, the article says.

That said, Sharon Stone is one of a handful of celebrities who have chosen domestic adoption. And when you're Sharon Stone, nothing is ever that complicated.

Eva's Foot Soldier

Shoes arriving for Iraqi children, women, thanks to county Guardsman
By Ronnie Thomas
rthomas@decaturdaily.com

Iraqi children on a Baghdad street ran up to the Humvee, their arms outstretched.
Maj. James B. Pugh of Eva, in his second tour with the Army National Guard, began handing out toys and candy.

Most of the children he sees are barefoot. And that is what struck the heart of the 45-year-old soldier. He sent photos home to his wife, Jacquie, and to his mother, Betsy Pugh, in Huntsville.

"Mother said she noticed we had given them toys. 'Send more toys?' " Pugh said she asked in a letter. "I wrote back and said, 'Toys are nice, but look around in the attic for old shoes, whatever you have. The kids and women here need shoes worse.' "

Betsy Pugh's Sunday school class at Southside Baptist Church had a shoe drive.
"Saturday, we got four boxes of brand new shoes from the church, probably 50 or 60 pairs," James Pugh said Monday from Baghdad. "We took them over to a women's clinic at the Civil Military Operations Center on the edge of the base and handed them out. We could have used twice that."

Pugh said Iraqi women and children come to the clinic three days a week.

"As part of CMOC, doctors have started to collect old shoes and clothes from soldiers' families, and they put them together in care packages," Pugh said. "It's making a difference, but we need a lot more help. We've got a limited supply and a whole lot of kids and women."

After getting her husband's call about the shoe shortage at the clinic, Jacquie Pugh spent the day at thrift shops in Eva, Priceville and Hartselle, and the Salvation Army, places "I thought I could afford to buy shoes in bulk. They helped me and gave me a cut on the prices."

She said she got 81 pairs which she boxed and mailed Monday.

Earlier, on a chance meeting, his wife found another shoe outlet.

She was at a continuing education course in Montgomery and heard about Soles4Souls, an organization that collects and sends shoes to people in need worldwide. Shoe companies, retailers and individuals can donate footwear, both new and used, to Soles4Souls, which has a distribution center in Wadley.

"I didn't know a whole lot about how the program works until my wife contacted them," Pugh said. "Part of their work is taking donations, buying inexpensive shoes and sending them to Third World countries. They did not have a place where they could send out shoes to Iraq. They do now. They've already contacted me, and we've kind of organized. I'm excited to get hooked up. We're waiting on our first shipment of shoes, and we should get them soon. If people are so led do donate, it's a good thing. I certainly encourage it."

Pugh said shoes are needed mostly in Iraq for children ages 12 and under and for women.
"I'm sure there are people who have old shoes around that went out of style, shoes that they'd never wear again," Pugh said. "Those would be a heck of a lot better than shoes I see on people here, those that are fortunate enough to have them. Quite honestly, some kids don't have shoes. It's incredibly hot here in the summer, but it gets cold in the winter. I saw a couple of little girls standing out there, barefoot and shivering. That will get to you."

Pugh said that unfortunately, Iraqi society gravitates toward the males.

"They'll spend money on shoes for little boys," he said. "Much of the time, little girls are left without."

Pugh, a 1986 graduate of Auburn University with a degree in physics, became an engineer licensed in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. His first deployment to Iraq was to Mosul with the 877th Engineer Battalion of Hamilton in 2003.

His second deployment to Baghdad is with the 1169th Engineer Group of Huntsville. He assists with engineering designs for facilities at various forward operating bases, joint security stations and Iraqi Army facilities.

"The north and south of the country by all aspects appear fairly calm," Pugh said. "In my dealings with the Iraqi Army, they have come a long way since my first tour."

He said that Iraqis "seem to be, by and large, friendly people who are weary and understandably tired of the war. But all in all, they seem to have a fairly good attitude. The driving force behind them is they have eternal hope. They're in difficult times and in situations that we as Americans can't fathom."

Pugh said that although there is a certain amount of "ingrained cynicism" among Iraqis, they want "basically the same kind of result that we want, a stable government and a peaceful land. I think the enemy we face has changed a little bit. There are far more outside influences than the first time I was here."

He said that support from home for both himself and his family has made his deployment easier. The Pughs have two sons, Jameson, 20, a sophomore at Auburn, and Jackson, 16, a ninth-grader at Brewer High School.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Piperlime Steps Up Once Again

Piperlime.com (the fresh online shoe shop from The Gap, Inc.), announced this afternoon that they are donating more than 1,000 pairs of NEW kids' shoes to Soles4Souls.

Considering that new shoes for children is at the top of our "wish list," this is excellent news and the shoes will be greatly appreciated! We are thrilled with our ongoing relationship with Piperlime and invite all our donors to check out their selection of products. They are a company with heart and soul ... and continue to support our mission with their generosity.

Thank you, Piperlime!

Soles4Souls in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

By LaMont Jones

Oakmont shoe store helps out

Nashville-based Soles4Souls, a nonprofit organization founded after Hurricane Katrina to provide new and gently worn footwear for people in need, has collected more than 2 million pairs of shoes.

This year, Lucy shoe store in Oakmont collected 2,000 pairs from customers in January and February.

"Somewhere in the Sudan is a little girl trying on her first pair of red high heels," said Lucy owner Rosemary Zottola.

The drive is part of a larger campaign, "The Million Pair March," to benefit the displaced people of the Sudan. Scarlett Johanssen kicked off the effort Feb. 8 with a donation of 2,000 pairs of new athletic shoes through her contract with Reebok.

If you want to donate footwear to the cause, find out how at giveshoes.org.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Deckers Joins Soles4Souls Million Pair March With A Goal To Collect 250,000 Pairs Locally

Goleta, CA (March 15, 2007) –Deckers Outdoor Corporation (NASDAQ: DECK) is proud to support the Soles4Souls Million Pair March campaign by mobilizing the local community to collect a quarter of a million pairs (250,000) of new and used footwear. Collected shoes from the Million Pair March will be distributed to individuals in disaster-driven areas like the Gulf Coast and in Third World countries like Sudan and Honduras.

Members of the Santa Barbara community can join Deckers in their mission by donating new, old or unwanted footwear at numerous locations around the Santa Barbara area. Thus far, drop off bins for footwear donations are available at the Deckers Goleta based office, Santa Barbara Zoo, UCSB Bren School, and our partnering retailers like Santa Barbara Outfitters and Santa Barbara Running Co. Additional drop-off locations are available at www.deckers.com/giveshoes.

“If we look in our closets, we might be embarrassed by the number of shoes we own that rarely, if ever, get worn,” says Angel Martinez, CEO and President of Deckers Outdoor Corp. “Why not donate those pairs to people in need? And the best part for us shoe lovers is that we then get to buy some new shoes, guilt-free.”

Soles4Souls got its start following the Asian Tsunami in 2004, where the organization was able to donate approximately 300,000 shoes to those affected. Since then, Soles4Souls has provided more than two million pairs of shoes to people in need throughout the world. For more information on Soles4Souls, or the Million Pair March, visit www.giveshoes.org.

"Deckers Outdoor Corporation is filled with compassionate people who have a huge heart for reaching out to their community and the world at large," said Wayne Elsey, Founder of Soles4Souls. "Since our very beginning they have been instrumental in helping us reach millions of people, and we are humbled by their incredible participation in this campaign."

Since their start over 30 years ago, Deckers has strived to find balance in their environmental responsibilities and business practices. Started by avid outdoorsmen, Deckers roots run deep in the protection of our wild places. Supporting organizations such as Waterkeeper Alliance, the Teva brand is able to focus on the protections of waterways worldwide. Simple Shoes revolutionized the footwear industry through innovation with the Green Toe® collection of sustainable footwear which uses materials that are less harmful to the environment.

For more information on Deckers Outdoor Corporation or Teva footwear please contact Jaime Eschette at 800-433-2537 x178 or via e-mail at jeschette@deckers.com.

For more information on Simple Shoes please contact Greg Nielsen at 800-433-2537 x592 or via e-mail at gnielsen@deckers.com.

For more information on UGG Australia please contact Kristen Thomason at 212-247-8552 or via e-mail at kthomason@deckers.com.


ABOUT DECKERS OUTDOOR CORPORATION:
Deckers Outdoor Corporation (NASDAQ: DECK) builds niche products into global lifestyle brands by designing and marketing innovative, functional and fashion-oriented footwear, developed for both high performance outdoor activities and everyday casual lifestyle use. The Company’s products are offered under the Teva, Simple and Ugg brand names.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mast General Store Partners with Soles4Souls

The Mast General Store (MGS) is partnering with Soles4Souls and The Greenville Drive baseball team in support of "Shoeless Joe Jackson" night (Greenville, South Carolina, April 11 2007).

MGS is holding a used shoe drive in all their locations and will present the shoes they collect to Soles4Souls at the ballgame. More details will follow!


The Mast General Store is a family of stores located in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee and the Upstate of South Carolina. The roots of the Mast Store are found in rural Valle Crucis, North Carolina, where the Original Mast Store is still the center of the community much as it has been since 1883. Inside any of our historic locations, you can find traditional clothing, outerwear and camping gear, sturdy hiking boots and Euro-comfort shoes, displayed along side home d├ęcor and essentials for your kitchen. You can also take a trip down memory lane in the candy department, which features 500 old-fashioned favorites. The Mast Store can be found along the main streets in Boone, Waynesville, Hendersonville, and Asheville in North Carolina; Greenville in South Carolina; and Knoxville in Tennessee.

Heart to Heart with Scarlett (from WSA Today)

SCARLETT JOHANSSON LAUNCHES SCARLETT "HEARTS" REEBOK COLLECTION OF FOOTWEAR AND APPAREL

LOS ANGELES (Mar. 9, 2007)- Scarlett Johansson's latest role isn't something you'd normally expect from the accomplished 22-year-old actress. Her newest project has her dancing on her feet. That's because, after signing a multiyear contract with Reebok last July, Johansson officially launched her very first Scarlett "Hearts" Rbk collection last night at Nordstrom at The Grove. The ‘80s-inspired collection, targeted toward young women, sports chic hooded tunics, Day-Glo track jackets, snug leggings and colorful sneaks.

At the event, Johansson kept things, as she put it, “short and sweet.” “I'm feeling a little bit under the weather," she explained to a crowded group of about 100 fans, reporters and camera crews. "It's really great to be here today, although not shopping this time," she said. "It's wonderful to work with Reebok because they are so forward-thinking.”

Wearing her very own Studio Sweatshirt in strato ink (a heathered light turquoise) with a pair of black leggings and her new Retro Aztecs in paperwhite with red trimming, she stepped onto the stage briefly, posing for pictures with models. With her hair pulled back tightly into a neat bun and wearing thin gold drop earrings, Johansson looked as though she'd just freshened up from the gym herself. She proudly told her models, "You guys look good!" Johansson also made sure photographers got a snapshot of the laser cut and embroidered logo on the back of her shirt was well, telling them, "Wait, you gotta see the back."

As much as the event celebrated her new collection, Johansson also took it as an opportunity to highlight Reebok's participation in the Million Pair March sponsored by Soles4Souls. "Today we're here with Soles4Souls as well," she said while greeting Soles4Souls founder Wayne Elsey with a kiss on the cheek. "Reebok has very graciously donated 2000 pairs of sneakers to Sudanese refugees." The shoes account for part of the 1 million pairs the charity plans to collect this month.

Elsey told WSAToday.com, "Scarlett stepped up and said, 'Hey, I believe in this.' She wanted to give back to people around the world and she chose us. She specifically contacted my publicist. We're very honored. She has a huge heart for giving. She's really stepped up and is going to change the world." After making her short remarks, Johansson headed straight to an employee anteroom. There, she took photos with approximately 50 fans who had waited in line to meet her. Some had already purchased a few items earlier in the day. Yesterday marked the first day her products hit retail stores across the world.

If you're wondering why Reebok chose Johansson to be their latest spokeswoman, it's all about the right fit, said Uli Becker, chief marketing officer. Becker told WSAToday.com, "If you look into collaborating with somebody you need a personality that fits with the brand. She checked off all the boxes and brought her own creative thoughts to us. This has taken her out of her regular context of acting and is bringing her into designing."

Becker, along several other top executives, flew out to Los Angeles especially for the occasion. "This is a big thing for us," said Eric Jew, directional marketing manager. Johansson, said Becker, was very involved throughout the design process. "Our female designers and she had lots of face-to-face meetings,” he said. “It was important to get Scarlett's ideas incorporated. She even speaks about seams on hoods!" Indeed, the seams on her Team Hooded Tunic are subtle, in contrast to its playful trim of satiny hearts. "She's very hands on when it comes to details," said Becker.

Much of the collection harkens back to the decade in which Johansson was born—the '80s—with its emphasis on soft jersey knit sweats, leggings and vintage footwear designs. The sole footwear design in the collection, the Retro Aztec, is an updated version of Reebok's very first running shoe. "Reebok has a long history of being relevant with the female consumer," Becker said. "Nothing with regard to the female consumer will ever be left out." Jew added, "For a while, Reebok seemed to be associated with hip-hop and such but now we're going back to our roots—trying to build back our business in women's fashion. Scarlett Johansson brings us into that world of athletic fashion." The Retro Aztec fashionably appears in blue, white, beige and red with shiny patent contrast trimming. For summer, it'll be available in gray, strato ink, blue and yellow. It retails for $89.99.

It seems that Johansson has already gotten rave reviews for her latest performance, too. When asked if she'd buy any of Johansson's wares, Katie Ward, 21, a visiting student from North Carolina State, exclaimed, "I would!" Elsey's 17-year-old daughter Melissa echoed her sentiments: "I love the new shoes and the long sweatshirts are really cute." Elsey, along with her friend Rachel Foglesong, 18, couldn't wait to meet Johansson backstage. When asked what she liked most about the collection, Foglesong replied, "I like how there are hearts on everything."

Business Owner Grateful for Enthusiastic Response to Shoe Drive

Several months ago, Ellen Mautner, owner of Sarah's Kiddles in Point Pleasant Beach, read a magazine article in Real Simple magazine about a young man from Guatemala whose family did not have enough money to put shoes on the child's feet.

Instead of wrapping his feet in a brightly-colored leather sneakers endorsed by Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant or Derek Jeter, this young man had tied a piece of cardboard to each foot with twine to protect his feet.

The story touched Ms. Mautner and led her to contact Soles4Souls, a charitable organization that collects shoes and delivers them worldwide to people in need.

Throughout the month of February, Sarah's Kiddles served as a collection point for Soles4Souls and Ms. Mautner asked the community to give what they could to help this worthy cause. This week, as the calendar was turned from February to March, she said the community came out in droves and donated 516 pairs of shoes.

"I was literally overwhelmed with how many shoes came in," Ms. Mautner said this week. "The community really seemed to come out and support what we were trying to do."

She said donations from individual residents and other community organizations poured in on almost a continuous basis.

A number of groups, like the Girl Scouts, held their own smaller collections and then donated the shoes they received to Sarah's Kiddles and Soles4Souls.

"I guess they all decided that it was a good time to clean out their closets and bring us their shoes," Ms. Mautner said. "It was great, we got shoes from kids, young people, old people, every kind of person."

Ms. Mautner said one of her customers, who winters in Florida, learned about the shoe drive while reading The Ocean Star in the Sunshine State and mailed four pairs of brand-new shoes to Point Pleasant Beach.

Ms. Mautner said the total amount of donations filled approximately eight large boxes with shoes and were shipped out as she filled them up.

Each box was sent to the Soles4Souls' regional headquarters in Wadley, Ala., and were then forwarded to a part of the world in need.

"I really want to just say thank you to everyone who helped make this such a success," Ms. Mautner said. "The whole community came together, it was just great."

One local civic group, the Point Pleasant Lions Club, has informed Ms. Mautner that it is planning on reimbursing her for the shipping costs of sending the large boxes to the Soles4Souls collection center.

In the past, Soles4Souls has sent shoes to Peru, Nepal, Guatemala, Columbia, Romania, Ukriane, Uganda, Swaziland, Liberia, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The organization, which began in 2004, also provides local assistance when the need arises.
Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Soles4Souls donated over 750,000 shoes to those people who were displaced by the storm.

According to numbers provided by the organization, 1.5 billion pairs of shoes lay idle in the United States every day.

For more information about Soles4Souls, please log on to the group's web site at www.soles4souls.org.

Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Alba Kick Off Million Pair March

Check out this post from LOOK TO THE STARS:


Stars such as Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle and Jessica Alba are donating their shoes and support to the Spring Cleaning/Million Pair March organized by Soles4Souls.

The charity provides aid for those in need around the world, and is collecting shoes and funds for a Fall shipment to refugee camps in the war-torn Sudan.

“Bringing sandals to remote villages will change the quality of an impoverished person’s life overnight,” said Wayne Elsey, Founder of Soles4Souls. “Wearing shoes can stop hookworm infections, as well as cuts and puncture wounds from sharp objects that can result in permanent injury. It helps to end the cycle of pain.”

Other celebrities who are helping the cause include Kristin Chenoweth, Parker Posey, Susan Lucci, Jeff Probst, Melissa Rivers and Moby.

Soles4Souls hopes to collect one million pairs of shoes and $1 million to cover the shipping costs. They are asking people to donate new or “gently worn” shoes and/or money.

To date the charity has collected over two million pairs of shoes which have helped victims of the Asian Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and others in need in the US and abroad. For more information on how you can help, go to www.GiveShoes.org.