Friday, November 30, 2007

Soles4Souls on

Soles4Souls is featured on, the web site you can browse to learn more about Americans. There are thousands of domestic and foreign websites that are filled with myths, hatred and criticism towards the USA and Americans. is a website that helps people around the world learn about and discuss American life with Americans. Soles4Souls is featured as an American charity dedicated to a global mission.

Soles4Souls is a registered charity which helps individuals, churches, civic groups, retailers and shoe companies donate new and used shoes to needy people worldwide.

Following the 2004 Asian tsunami, Wayne Elsey, the founder of Soles4Souls, called some fellow executives in the shoe industry and collected about 250,000 pairs of shoes for the tsunami victims. A year later when Hurricane Katrina hit the USA, another 750,000 shoes were sent to the hurricane victims. One year later the charity Soles4Souls was created.

Shoes have been distributed to over 40 countries - including Honduras, Guatemala, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Swaziland, Sudan (Darfur), Uganda, Romania, Iraq, Peru, Thailand and Nepal.

35,000 shoes are being shipped in cooperation with World Vision to the victims of the 2007 Bangladesh Cyclone. Additional donations for the victims of Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh are being gathered.

Red Wing Shoe Company recently donated 26,500 boots to help victims of the earthquake in Peru.

12,515 pairs of shoes were distributed in Honduras in a 2006 project by a 6-member team of Soles4Souls together with assistance from local helpers and church youth.

Another project delivered 85,000 pairs of shoes to Uganda, Africa.

Supporters of the charity include Jessica Alba, Jim Belushi, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sharon Stone, Jeff Fisher, Billy Joel and Reba McIntire.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ravenscroft Third-Graders Lead Soles4Souls Shoe Drive

A couple of third-graders of the Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, NC are leading a Soles4Souls shoe drive to collect new and gently used shoes for the less fortunate. Allison Arber and Ryan Gerard are following the school's legacy to learn, lead and serve.

Ravenscroft’s involvement with the project began when Ryan went into the New Balance store in Raleigh to purchase a new pair of shoes, and was asked by an employee if he would like to donate his unused shoes to Soles4Souls.

“I asked them how many people didn’t have shoes, and they said more than 300 million,” said Ryan. “I donated my old shoes, and then my family and I realized it would make a good service project. I asked my classmate, Allison, who goes to church with me at St. Francis of Assisi, if she wanted to help, and she did.”

The students approached the Lower School Director about sponsoring the project, and then created and distributed flyers promoting the shoe drive throughout the Lower School. The response has been overwhelming, and within two days of announcing the project, the shoe containers were overflowing with donations.

“I visited the Soles4Souls Web site and saw some pictures of children who were wearing paper held together with rubber bands on their feet,” said Allison. “Their feet could get cold or they could step on something and get hurt, so it makes me happy to help them.”

“We have done shoe drives in the past, but this is the first time we have participated in the Soles4Souls program and the first time we have worked with a local school,” said Mark Allard, who owns the Raleigh and Durham New Balance stores with his wife, Kathy. “This is a really great program that started in the wake of the 2004 tsunami. Souls4Soles delivers shoes to those with a need both domestically and internationally. For example, more than 1 million pairs went to victims of Hurricane Katrina, and 50,000 pairs were recently delivered to victims of the wildfires in California.”

New Balance has provided containers for the Ravenscroft students, who will collect shoes through Dec. 8. New Balance will then ship the shoes to Soles4Souls. Allard said that the store was already putting plans into place for future shoe drives involving local schools, so he was happy to help Ravenscroft get started when he was approached by the Gerard family.

Anyone wishing to donate their new or gently-used shoes to Soles4Souls may bring them to the New Balance Store at 6204 Glenwood Ave. in Raleigh.

A Letter from Charleston, SC

The letters of gratitude and success continue to pour in from the footwear donation to U.S. shelters held this Thanksgiving. Physicians and volunteers from across twenty-five U.S. cities partnered with Soles4Souls and 'Our hearts to Your Soles' to offer free shoes and foot screenings for hundreds of homeless people. More than 2,500 pairs of new shoes were delivered to homeless shelters in U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, New Orleans, Charlotte, Minneapolis, Rochester, and others. Here is just one letter received from a foot specialist in Charleston, SC.

Dear Soles4Souls,

My name is Blake Ohlson and I am an orthopaedist in Charleston, SC. I am writing you to thank you for the shoes you provided to our men in need at the shelter. We participated last Tuesday with about 7 volunteers that included physical therapists, orthotists, medical assistants, and myself.

We performed foot exams and provided shoes for over 100 men. The event was a huge success and everyone was extremely grateful. We look forward to making this a yearly tradition.

Incidentally, we attracted the attention of both the city newspaper and television. It is my hope that through increased exposure the program will continue to grow.


Blake Ohlson MD
Orthopaedic Specialists of Charleston

Soles4Souls on

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Some local students who work constantly to overcome obstacles associated with being deaf and blind are walking a little more comfortably thanks to the Soles4Souls' donation of hundreds of pairs of shoes.

"We all feel that we have new shoes and they're really nice. We feel good about ourselves and we don't have to keep the old shoes. We've got new shoes now. We've got something different," new shoe recipient Chris said with the help of a sign language interpreter.

Chris was one of nearly 1,000 students at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine who has a new spring in his step thanks to some new shoes from Soles 4 Shoes.

Soles 4 Souls is an international charity dedicated to providing free footwear to disadvantaged people all over the world.

The founder of Soles4Souls, Wayne Elsey, said donating the shoes was a simple gesture that speaks volumes and that it was great time to help out with Christmas around the corner.

"Something so simple that we take for granted is making these kids smile," Elsey said. "A pair of shoes can help them and help their families especially around the holidays."

From an old pair of sneaks to a new pair of New Balance the new shoes were an upgrade that brought a smile to several kids' faces.

"I was like, 'Wow. I got some new shoes.' I was excited," Chris said. "I'm very grateful that the man was nice enough to give me the shoes. He was just giving them away for free to all of us."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

FSDB Shoe Donation Picked Up by CBS Affliate

Soles4Souls has partnered with the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind to provide footwear for the school's students. Soles4Souls will provide more than 1,000 pairs of shoes to be distributed on Wednesday, November 28 on the School's campus. CEO and founder Wayne Elsey was interviewed by Jacksonville TV-47 CBS affiliate reporter Denise Douglas for the station's early morning local news program, prior to the shoe donation.

"We are thrilled to be working with such a wonderful institution to help these amazing kids," Elsey said. "They have overcome obstacles must of us can't imagine. Our hope is that this donation will help make their lives a little easier."

The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind is part of the public school system and is the largest school of its type in the United States, serving sensory impaired students statewide. Founded in 1885, the School serves 850 students and their families in pre-kindergarten though 12th grade. Most students live on campus in dormitories and return home on the weekends. Approximately 200 students live in the local area and attend as day students. Close to 70% of FSDB seniors go on to college or technical training centers and enter a variety of professional careers and trades.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

St. Stephens Services Receive Shoes and Screenings

St. Stephen's Human Services in Minneapolis, MN is an organization dedicated to ending homelessness. They operate a shelter, housing, employment, advocacy, outreach, and recovery services to those who are homeless or living in extreme poverty. Thousands of people benefit each year.

With the cold winter months approaching, St. Stephen's wanted to make sure the area's less fortunate were provided with warm, sturdy shoes. Through the support of Soles4Souls and Our Hearts to Soles, dozens of physicians and volunteers gave free foot screenings and footwear to hundreds of homeless people.

"People tend to overlook foot and ankle problems until they have disabling pain," stated Dr. Lance Silverman, an orthopedic foot and ankle specialist. "While many wear inappropriate footwear, the homeless population suffers more because they do not have the resources to help themselves. Our goal is to get them back on track to good health."

The majority of foot and ankle problems stem from chronic overuse, obesity or improper shoe wear. The homeless in the Twin cities are even at a greater risk. Winter snow and ice increase the number of injuries from slips and falls while the cold temperatures add serious risk of frostbite. Soles4Souls provided the proper footwear needed to survive the bitter cold.

"I am so thankful to Soles4Souls for their generous donation," said Amber Becker with St. Stephen's Services. "I was fortunate enough to witness the long lines of people waiting for new shoes, tossing out their old torn ones and dancing in the new! It really does change lives, and not just those of the homeless."

Soles4Souls Outfitting Students at FSDB

Soles4Souls has partnered with the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine to provide free footwear for the school's students.

"The students at FSDB are incredible kids who have overcome obstacles most of us can not imagine," said Wyane Elsey, founder and CEO of Soles4Souls. "Proper footwear shouldn't be an obstacle for any child."

More than 1,000 pairs of shoes will be distributed at the school from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

"FSDB is fortunate to receive support from many sources around the state of Florida and the United States," said FSDB President Elmer Dillingham Jr. "Soles4Souls' donation to our students is greatly appreciated and will place smiles on the faces of our students."

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Project Homeless Connect: Las Vegas

Soles4Souls participated in the annual Project Homeless Connect held in Las Vegas. The all day event was open to all homeless and low-income housing residents in the area. There were 2,600 people that came through the doors looking for areas of interest, information and support.

About 400 volunteers and city officials helped steward people through everything from optical and dental exams to housing requests to child services. There were also plenty of giveaways including toiletries, water, fruit, blankets, clothes and of course, shoes.

There has never been a shoe vendor giving away sandals and shoes before and Soles4Souls was proud to be a part of the event.

"It was a humbling and quite fulfilling experience to give shoes to this population of homeless and poverty stricken families," noted one Soles4Souls staff member. "We were able to give every single person in our long line a pair of shoes."

After donating the shoes, Soles4Souls gave the balance to other non-profits serving this area, such as the LV Rescue mission. They were all thrilled to receive them and vowed to put them to good use.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Soles4Souls on Shop Bag

The Shop Bag will be featuring Soles4Souls on their website ( during the months of November and December under the section 'the bag recommends'. Soles4Souls has been given the honor of 'bag of hope'. Visitors are encouraged to donate new or gently worn shoes to Soles4Souls. Why wait until the holidays to be in the giving spirit? Change someone's life today!

The Shop Bag help clients achieve their personal goals through customized image consultation. After a one-on-one wardrobe assessment, the shop bag help their clients develop a fashion template through custom resources and shopping trips to find unique clothing, hairstyles, shoes, jewelry, and accessories. The have adopted the motto "change something inside" which expresses the belief that your inner person mirrors the outer and vice versa. When you change what you're bringing home in your shopping bag, you change how you look and how you feel!