Friday, June 27, 2008

Shoe Drive at Green Aware Fair

Soles4Souls will be at the Green Aware Fair in Loma Rica, CA to collect new and gently worn shoes. Yuba County and surrounding counties are being asked to “STEP UP” and "Clean Out their Closets and Recycle their Gently Worn Shoes."

The Green Aware Fair is a fun-filled day of eco-friendly education, family entertainment and green cuisine. Come and see how delicious, healthy and fun organic and sustainable living can be while learning a few eco-friendly tips along the way.

Donating a pair of shoes is a great way to clear out the clutter, help the environment and impact a life for the greater good.

“We can use the shoes taking up space in your closet to change the world one pair at a time,” said Soles4Souls CEO and founder Wayne Elsey. “We need our partners in North America and specifically in Yuba County and the surrounding counties, to 'STEP UP' and get behind our call for action. It’s one of the most simple yet profound gifts you can make, because it will greatly improve someone’s life in the most difficult of times,” he said.

The event will be held Saturday, August 23rd from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and admission is FREE!

More information, visit

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Shoe Carnival Recap

Pictured: Glenn Klava, Samantha Payton, Albert Haynesworth and John Dodson

NFL All-Pro Defensive Tackle, Albert Haynesworth recently teamed up with Shoe Carnival and hosted a shoe drive and autograph session. The event collected over 700 pairs of shoes that will benefit Soles4Souls.

Thank you Albert, Shoe Carnival and everybody for participating and donating shoes that will surely impact many lives!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

20 Questions with... Wayne Elsey

Wayne Elsey, the CEO and founder of Soles4Souls was featured in the latest issue of Murfreesboro Magazine.

He was asked 20 questions about the charity - ranging from the mission and beginnings of Soles4Souls to involvement in natural disasters.

Read the article here

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Players Announced for Coach Fisher's Charity Softball Game

Titans players have been announced for the 2008 Comcast "Jeff Fisher & Friends" Charity Softball Game to be played on Saturday, June 28 (7 p.m.) at Greer Stadium in Nashville.

Players participating will include: Vince Young, Chris Hope, Bo Scaife, Nick Harper, Cortland Finnegan; David Thornton, Jevon Kearse, Rob Bironas, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Justin Gage, Chris Johnson, Casey Cramer, Craig Hentrich, Kerry Collins, Ken Amato, Daniel Loper, Michael Griffin, Calvin Lowry, Ahmad Hall, Josh Stamer, Stephen Tulloch, Jason Jones, Roydell Williams, Coach Alan “Music City Miracle” Lowry and Coach Steve Watterson. Other Alumni “Friends” include Frank Wycheck, Marcus Robertson, Kevin Dyson, Chris Sanders, Brad Hopkins and Benji Olsen.

Again this year, Soles4Souls will conduct a shoe drive at the charity softball game. This is one of Nashville's hottest annual events so be sure to mark your calendar, bring your gently worn or new shoes and join the fun.

Admission is only $10.00 or $15.00 for Reserved Seats, $6.00 for Kids 12 under, and if you show your KrogerPlus card, Military or Student ID you can get an additional $1 off. Tickets are on sale through the Nashville Sounds ticket office. Tickets sales will benefit Mercy Ministries, Second Harvest Food Bank, Soles4Souls, Catch-A-Dream and several other local charities. The event has raised over $350,000 to date.

Gates open at 5:00 PM with pre-game activities that include a Little League exhibition game and a NFL players “Hit it Out of the Park” contest and the games kicks off at 7:00 PM. Capping off the evening will be a display of fireworks.

Brighton's Final Tally: 73,163 Pair

After it was all said and done, 125 Brighton Collectible stores participated in the most successful shoe drive Soles4Souls had ever seen. The national chain far exceeded their lofty goal of 50,000 pair by sending over 73,000 pairs of new and gently worn shoes to Soles4Souls distribution centers.

The shoes will be inspected, sorted and then sent to the needy in various parts of the U.S. and around the world.

Wayne Elsey, CEO and founder of Soles4Souls, said that Brighton was so successful because many of the stores partnered with local community organizations and businesses to spread the word about the shoe drive.

"The gift of shoes can be such a powerful thing," said Elsey. "Often we don't realize how many people both at home and abroad are without even a single pair of shoes."

This is the second year in a row that Brighton has partnered with Soles4Souls. Giving back is a tradition at Brighton, and the company has been fortunate to be able to help communities across the United States and around the world.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Shoes Sent to Flood Victims in the Midwest

Soles4Souls will be sending 25,000 pairs of new shoes to victims of the recent flooding in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. The shoes are scheduled to be delivered by June 27 in several locations throughout the three states.

Soles4Souls is working with partner agency Operation Compassion to deliver the shoes quickly to people who need them most.

"We are asking our footwear partners across North America to help us reach out to victims in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana," said Wayne Elsey, Founder and CEO of Soles4Souls.

"Unfortunately, we can never predict when natural disasters like this week's flooding in the Midwest will occur. We need individuals, shoe retailers, and footwear brands to dig deep into their closets and stockrooms to help us get shoes on the feet of people to help them rebuild their communities," he said.

Dave Lorency, President of Operation Compassion, an international relief agency based in Cleveland, Tennessee, said that Soles4Souls was filling an important need for victims of the floods.

"Getting a new pair of shoes will be a huge relief to a lot of these people," he said. "Flood water ruins everything it comes into contact with, and trying to rebuild communities without decent shoes is next to impossible,"Lorency said.

Lorency said that people and corporations could help most by donating shoes and cash to Soles4Souls so that his organization could continue to deliver free shoes to people in need.

"We work in places all over the world, like Romania and Indonesia, and when something like this happens in our own country, it's important that we step up and help those people with the same amount of compassion," he said.

"Soles4Souls is an invaluable resource for people all over the world, including right here in the U.S."

Those interested in giving shoes or donating cash to benefit victims in the U.S. Midwest can join Soles4Souls and Operation Compassion by visiting or calling 615-391-5723.

NFL Star and Shoe Carnival Join Soles4Souls

Shoe Carnival and Albert Haynesworth, the All Pro defensive tackle for the Tennesse Titans are teaming up with Soles4Souls to help provide those in need with the gift of shoes.

Haynesworth will be on-hand at Shoe Carnival in Nashville on Tuesday, June 24 from 3:00 PM until 7:00 PM to sign one autograph for each pair of new or "gently worn" shoes that are donated to Soles4Souls.

New shoes will be available in select styles and clearance prices starting at $5.00 at the following participating Shoe Carnival location: Cool Springs Galleria, 7085 Bakers Bridge Avenue, Franklin, TN, 37067.

Haynesworth hosted a signing earlier this year at Shoe Carnival that drew over 500 fans. He hopes that even more fans will come out to participate in this worthy cause.

"The last signing had a wonderful turnout, so I thought it would be a great idea to give back to a worthy cause like Soles4Souls at the same time," said Haynesworth. "I know that fans will clean out their closets and keep me very busy signing autographs all day."

"We are happy to offer Shoe Carnival customers the opportunity to meet Albert and donate their shoes to Soles4Souls," said Steve Meyer, Senior Vice President of Store Operations. "Soles4Souls' mission to provide shoes for those in need is a message that resonates with our customers. We hope this will be a memorable experience for everyone involved."

"We are thrilled that Albert and Shoe Carnival have chosen to partner with Soles4Souls," said Wayne Elsey, Founder and CEO of Soles4Souls. "The shoes donated by Albert's fans will make a huge impact on the lives of thousands of people in desperate need."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Jeff Fisher Charity Softball Game

It's time for 106.7 The Fan's annual 2008 Comcast "JEFF FISHER & FRIENDS" Charity Softball Game presented by Regions Bank at Greer Stadium.

Be there when gates open at 5:00 PM and join the fun for events like the Little League Exhibition Game and Hit It Out Of The Park. The game will begin at 7:15 PM and be sure to stick around afterwards for fireworks.

This year Soles4Souls will be conducting a shoe drive at the charity softball game. Soles4Souls is asking you for your 'gently worn' shoes to make a tangible difference in someone's life.

See you there!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Brighton's Shoe Drive a Success

Southwest Florida residents donated 2,542 pairs of shoes to Coconut Point’s Brighton Collectibles during its annual campaign to provide footwear for the needy. The amount shoes collected at the Estero store was more than any other of Brighton Collectibles’ 125 stores across the country.

Twelve other Brighton stores collected more than 1,000 pairs for shoes. Company-wide, Brighton Collectibles received 73,163 pairs of shoes.

“We’re ecstatic,” said store manager Amanda Hodge. “When we kicked this off we had just under 200 pairs of shoes. Then the article ran in The News-Press and people started donating shoes from all over Southwest Florida. I never knew so many people read The News-Press."

“We had one gentleman from a local church who put a notice in his church’s bulletin,” Hodge said. “This past Sunday, he dropped off 179 pairs of shoes.”

Throughout the month of May, the women’s boutique collected footwear as a way to bring attention to the 300 million children in the world who have never owned a pair of shoes. The store teamed up with Soles4Souls for the footwear fundraiser.

Brighton Collectibles’ goal was to collect 50,000 pairs of shoes company-wide, Hodge said.

“We’ve been getting a lot of congratulatory emails this morning,” Hodge said.

The footwear collected during the Brighton event will be sent to Soles4Souls primary distribution center in Roanoke, Ala., where it will be inspected, sorted by gender and size, packaged and then shipped. The footwear will await distribution to the first qualified charity or regional partner that expresses a need.

Shoes Welcome in Westville, IL

Mounds of shoes are piling up in the home of Marla Mackiewicz, and she couldn’t be happier about it. Mackiewicz is the initiator and organizer of a Soles4Souls shoe drive that will take place Saturday at the Westville Public Library.

She has been accepting donations of shoes for the drive throughout the entire month of June, as people have heard about it by word of mouth. She already had collected 204 pairs last week.

“It’s amazing,” said Mackiewicz, who is storing the shoes in her dining room. “It’s hard to imagine what 204 pairs of shoes look like.”

Mackiewicz said she heard about the Soles4Souls organization one day while watching a television show and was impressed.

“I was just amazed at what this organization was doing,” Mackiewicz said.

Mackiewicz said that all shoes are welcome on Saturday as well as monetary donations to help defray the costs of shipping the footwear to the distribution facility. All donations, whether in shoe form or monetary, are tax deductible.

"I’m telling everybody any size and any style would be wonderful,” Mackiewicz said.

Those who donate shoes at the library on Saturday will receive a ticket to be entered into a drawing for prizes that have been given by many local businesses. Latoz Hardware, Avenue Broadband, Body Benders, Casey’s General Store and John Nelk of the Barber Shop, all of Westville; and Taco Bell and Red Wing Shoes of Danville have donated gifts for the drawing.

Ken Burkhamer, owner of Red Wing Shoes with wife Diane, donated more than 50 pairs to the cause. He said the Soles4Souls group is very well known within the shoe industry.

“They have pretty good exposure within the shoe retail trades,” Burkhamer said. “This is an up-and-up organization.”

Burkhamer said the new shoes he donated were mostly women’s casual shoes. He said the donation of shoes is so important in many different situations, such as when a woman has to leave a domestic abuse situation and she only has time to grab her purse.

“She has to rebuild her wardrobe from the ground up,” Burkhamer said. He also said many times in disasters shoes are the first things that are lost or swept away.

Whatever financial donations don’t cover for the shipping of the shoes, Mackiewicz said she will be donating herself. She said she already has surpassed her original goal of 170 pairs and plans to hold more drives in the future.

“I just wanted to do this,” Mackiewicz said. “I just love doing philanthropic activities, and this is one I feel very passionate about.”

Burkhamer encouraged the community to get involved in the drive.

“It’s a good place to put their shoes, to give them to an organization that can get them to the people who need them.”

Monday, June 16, 2008

Oregon Store Hosting Drive

Gimre's Shoes, in Hillsboro, OR announces it is hosting a shoe drive to benefit Soles4Souls. During the shoe drive, Gimre's Shoes will be offering a 10 percent discount to all customers who bring in gently worn pairs of shoes toward the effort. The shoe drive will run through the end of June.

Gimre's Shoes is located one half block from the Washington County Courthouse at 256 E. Main St in Hillsboro. For more information on how you can get involved with this shoe drive, contact Gimre's Shoes at 503-640-5866.

NAFB Helps Soles4Souls deliver Shoes in Arizona

The Northern Arizona Food Bank on East Huntington Drive received a large delivery last Friday: A truck brought a 40-foot container holding 65,000 pairs of new rubber flip-flop sandals for distribution to the less fortunate in Flagstaff and the surrounding communities.

NAFB had been chosen as one of five charities nationwide to receive thousands of shoes to distribute to the less fortunate. They are helping Soles4Souls distribute the footwear as part of the National Barefoot Week campaign that was held the first week of June.

"There are 300 million children worldwide who have never owned a pair of shoes and that shocked me," said Kerry Ketchum, NAFB executive director. "National Barefoot Week allows Americans to personally participate and become aware that it is such a problem."

Soles4Souls and KIDS (Kids in Distressed Situations), a New York City organization, have donated more than 325,000 pairs of new shoes to needy people in five cities. In addition to Flagstaff, the cities of Miami, Chicago, Atlanta and New Orleans also received shipments. The Flagstaff distribution is the last event in the series.

"There are a lot of things people need besides food," Ketchum said. "NAFB has always been about food and humanitarian aid, and this falls right in there with our mission."

The sandals range in size from men's 12 to littlest children's 10C, Ketchum said. There are 140 pairs of sandals in each carton and the cartons are loaded high on four large pallets in the NAFB warehouse.

"We'll be able to make sure the shoes are going out to more remote areas, from Page to Nogales," he said. "It's going to be a chore to find a home for all of them, but with our wide area of distribution, that shouldn't be a problem."

The shoes will be distributed to the nonprofit's partner agencies and will even travel east to New Mexico and west to California, he said.

Ketchum, who grew up poor in a farming area in Oregon, said he knows how it is to have hand-me-downs. His mother single-handedly raised four children.

"There is something about owning something new, the self-esteem factor, rather than a used hand-me-down," Ketchum said.

For more information, call Northern Arizona Food Bank at 526-2211.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lake Jackson Church gives Poverty the Boot

The congregation at Hope Fellowship Church in Lake Jackson has joined a campaign that aims to meet one of the most basic needs impoverished people can have — shoes. The church was part of Soles4Souls’ National Barefoot Week campaign in which worshippers and others in the community donated gently used footwear to those in need.

The church conducted its campaign all through last week, culminating at its Sunday service, after which many church-goers left their shoes behind. Senior Pastor Mark Swirsky explained why his church viewed this effort as so important.

“It’s a reality that most Americans have many pairs of shoes, but many people in world don’t even have one pair,” he said.

Swirsky got the idea of helping out after reading about puncture wounds and hookworm infections that plague many people in the Third World.

Hope Fellowship Church’s Youth Pastor Johnathan Sublet noted the shoe drive is another avenue for doing God’s work.

“It’s just one way to be a light in the community,” Sublet said. “God depends on us to share what He has given.”

Share a Pair!

Available at and

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

2,820 Pounds of Shoes for Soles4Souls

Escambia County Recycling Operations in Pensacola, Florida delivered 2,820 pounds of new and used shoes to Soles4Souls as a part of the county’s Shoe Reuse & Recycling program.

The Shoe Reuse program, which will continue indefinitely, has three collection locations for donations: Perdido Landfill, 13009 Beulah Road; Escambia County Parks and Recreation Department, 1651 E. Nine Mile Road; Escambia County Extension Services Office, 3740 Stefani Road.

The collected shoes were given to Soles4Souls, churches and women’s shelters across the United States. For more information about this program contact the Escambia County Department of Solid Waste Management at 937-2160.

Framingham Students Donate Shoes

High school students in Framingham, MA have been collecting money and footwear for victims of the recent cyclone in Myanmar.

"It turned out that kids were extremely willing to give," said Alexandra Sousa, a junior at the school.

Sousa helped organize a drive to raise donations from students and staff for Soles4Souls. In about a week, students gathered more than 160 pairs of shoes and raised more than $540, said Sousa. The drive will continue until the last day of school, she said.

The late-year drive is a 3-year-old tradition at Framingham High, and part of teacher Kerry Wood's advanced placement course in English language and composition. Part of the class's goal is to encourage students to develop their persuasive writing skills and view themselves as world citizens, Wood said.

She said students picked the charity after a vote. Despite the fact that seniors are already gone and the collection took place over a few days, she said the response has been strong, Wood said.

"It's amazing, the number of kids dropping a pair of shoes in the collection box," she said.

Soles4Souls helps those living in disaster zones or in impoverished locations prevent foot injuries that can lead to disease, and is an essential part of a relief effort. A shipment of shoes intended for the victims of Myanmar has been held up.

Framingham High's Kerry Wood said students are aware of the difficulty of getting donations through to Myanmar.

"If it doesn't get to Myanmar, which is the intent, there are other countries that (could receive) the shoes," she said.

Another Framingham High junior, Rory Cahill, accepts Myanmar's government may block aid shipments, but knows someone will ultimately benefit from donations made by his classmates.

"Wherever there's need, what we've collected can help that," said Cahill, who works with St. Andrew's Church to do charity work, including raising money for a water pump in an African country.

"Shoes seem like they're not very common (to collect), but they're something that need to be given to people who've lost everything," said Cahill.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Divna Shoe Drive

Divna, a chic new women's fashion footwear retailer that caters to larger sizes announced today that it will be hosting ashoe drive to benefit Soles4Souls.

During the shoe drive, Divna will be offering a 15% discount to all customers who bring in gently worn pairs of shoes toward the effort. The shoe drive will begin on Saturday, June 21, 2008 and will end on Saturday, July 19, 2008. Divna is located at 2255 Kipling Avenue No.4, in Toronto, Ontario.

"It is really important to me that we at Divna give back," says Divna Founder/Owner Veronica Ljubicic. "I feel very strongly about advocating on behalf of those less fortunate and I am proud that Divna is participating in such a great program."

"We are thrilled that Divna is acting on our behalf to spread joy to people, both here in the United States and around the world," says Wayne Elsey, founder of Soles4Souls. "It is only because of proactive retail stores, such as Divna, that we are able to accomplish our goal of getting shoes on the feet of people who need them most," he says.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Shoes Handed out to the Needy in Atlanta

This week, Soles4Souls and New York-based Kids In Distressed Situations gave away 65,000 pairs of Soles4Souls-branded flip-flop shoes to needy children and adults in Atlanta.

Dozens of children and adults traveled to the Southside offices of Caring for Others, a local homeless prevention organization, to pick their new kicks. Caring for Others, a K.I.D.S. Georgia partner, also passed out new gym shoes to adults.

Embreya Thomas, 14, of Atlanta plans to sport her blue flip-flops during an upcoming swimming outing.

"I like them because I can wear them to the park, school and a lot of stuff," she said. "They are cute. I think it's good people are getting these shoes. Some people don't have what other people have."

Quinton Carter, 45, was among those getting new sneakers.

"I like them," said Carter, who lives in Atlanta's West End neighborhood. "They are really very nice."

Shoes that weren't doled out Wednesday will be distributed through Caring for Others to other metro Atlanta charities and social services organizations.

Atlanta is one of five U.S. cities included in the Soles4Souls National Barefoot Week campaign to distribute more than 325,000 pairs of flip-flops. Previous stops were Chicago and Miami. The campaign will hit New Orleans and Flagstaff, Ariz., today near the Hopi and Navajo Indian reservations.

Soles4Souls will be the Official Charity of Beach Tennis Smash

Beach tennis will return to San Diego with the Beach Tennis Smash on Saturday, June 7 and Sunday, June 8. This is the second year beach tennis has been organized in San Diego, it will be at Ocean Beach Tower 3 at the corner of Brighton Avenue and West Point Loma Boulevard.

Beach tennis has been described as a combination of beach volleyball and tennis, creating an action-packed, fast-paced game. It is now in its fourth season in the U.S. since being launched by real estate developer Marc Altheim.

Soles4Souls was announced as the official charity of the Beach Tennis Smash. Participants and spectators are encouraged to donate shoes that have been “gently worn” to Soles4Souls, which then distributes them around the world to those in need.

“I got the idea to support Soles4Souls from last year’s marathon here in San Diego, whereby at the end of the race, runners had the opportunity to donate their shoes,” said Gretchen Magers, president of San Diego Beach Tennis Association. “Tennis players usually have lots of pairs of shoes but the beauty of beach tennis is you do not need shoes. So now you have a reason to donate them.”

Magers, a popular former professional-tour player who competed in all of the Grand Slam events, said the competition in the pro division will be very good. According to Magers, beach tennis has proven to be a popular transition for those players no longer on the tour.

For more information, call (619) 920-7075, or visit interested in learning beach tennis can do so every Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Barnes Tennis Center, 4490 West Point Loma Blvd. in Point Loma.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Wolverine World Wide Retail announces benefit shoe drive

Wolverine World Wide Retail division announced that they will be hosting a shoe drive at their Track 'N Trail and Rockford Footwear Depot stores to benefit Soles4Souls. The shoe drive will begin on June 1 and conclude on June 21.

Rockford Footwear Depot has one location in
West Michigan, located at 235 N. Main in Rockford.
Track 'N Trail has two local stores: one at Woodland
Mall in Grand Rapids and a second location at RiverTown Crossings in Grandville.

"Our team is delighted to have an opportunity to support a great organization like Soles4Soles," said Bobbi Lindeman, president of WWW Retail, which owns Track 'N Trail and Rockford Footwear Depot. "Shoes are a basic need that many of us often take for granted; however, globally there is a great need for footwear. At least 300 million children worldwide are without shoes. With such a great need across the globe, donating gently worn shoes to Soles4Souls is one way that we all can do our part to help better the lives of others."

65,000 Sandals Headed to Chicago

Flip-flops are a sure sign of summer.

Soles4Souls brought a piece of the season to the Chicago Southland Tuesday in the form of 65,000 pairs of thong sandals.

Invincible Kids Accepting Nothing Negative (IKANN), headed by Thelma Southall, worked to connect local nonprofit agencies and churches with Soles4Souls, aided also by Kids in Distressed Situations, another children's aid organization.

Agencies will distribute the sandals to kids in need. For many, it will be their first new footwear in a long while.

"Shoes used to be one of the basics," said the Rev. Betty Harris, co-pastor of Cornerstone House of God in Harvey. "Now it's gas for the parents to get to work to make money and buy food. Kids' needs kind of get pushed to the side."

She said sporting new clothing offers kids a feeling of self-confidence. If they feel like they deserve new shoes, they start to wonder what else they can attain, Harris said.

Jewel Pugh, who runs Back-to-Basics, a Matteson-based mentoring program for girls ages 12 to 15, said she planned to take "as many shoes as they'll let me."

"So many kids can't afford basic things."

She said she'll also bring shoes for distribution to her church, Greater Mount Hermon Church of God in Christ in Chicago Heights.

The Rev. Reginald Hall is used to seeing families in need at Abundant Life Deliverance Church in Matteson, where he's co-pastor with his wife, the Rev. Vickie Hall.

The couple will give shoes to members of its congregation, along with other community residents, at one of many free goods distributions.

"With all the things parents have to worry about, shoes sometimes get left off the list," Reginald Hall said.

His wife added that might be because "shoes cost a fortune" and parents simply can't afford it.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Sarasota Stores Collecting Footwear

New Balance Sarasota and New Balance University in Sarasota, Florida are collecting shoes from their community to be distributed to Soles4Souls.

Molly Jackson, a co-owner of the two New Balance stores, said there are hundreds of millions of people around the world who have never owned a pair of shoes, yet Americans are tossing millions of shoes into the landfill every year.

Last year, New Balance collected 900 shoes for the charity.

Anyone interested in donating used but still usable shoes can bring them to the New Balance stores in Sarasota at 6573 S. Tamiami Trail and at 8204 Tourist Center Drive, off University Parkway. Shoes can also be donated at the Summer Kid Beach Runs on Tuesday evenings on Siesta Key. The donations can be left at the Siesta Beach main pavilion.

Donors are asked to put $1 inside the shoes to help with the cost of shipping.
New Balance is offering customers a $5 coupon on a pair of new shoes in exchange for their donations.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Running Fit Running Drive (co-sponsored by Enspire Dental)

Running Fit will be hosting a shoe drive for the entire month of June to donate to Soles4Souls for distribution. Customers who bring in gently used shoes to any of Running Fit's seven southeast Michigan locations will receive a discount on their next purchase.

"According to the World Health Organization, wearing shoes help prevent hookworm, a parasite that enters the body through the foot," said Brad Stulberg, a recent University of Michigan graduate that is helping to put on the drive. "Hookworm afflicts more than 740 million people in developing countries around the world."

Enspire Dental, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is also co-sponsoring the drive.

Jane Banaszak-Holl, a professor of organizational studies at University of Michigan's College of Literature, Science and the Arts, calculated that each pair donated saves $733 in health care, productivity and education costs.

For more information, visit

Texas Church Collecting Shoes this Week

As seen in

Well-heeled worshippers at Hope Fellowship Church in Lake Jackson, TX are being asked to step out of their Sunday best to support Soles4Souls’ National Barefoot Week campaign.

The Hope Fellowship congregation will accept donations of new and gently used footwear this week, culminating in the Sunday service, when Senior Pastor Mark Swirsky will invite his church community to leave their shoes behind.

“It’s a reality that most Americans have many pairs of shoes, but many people in world don’t even have one pair,” Swirsky said.

Nashville-based Soles4Souls donates footwear to needy people in the United States and abroad, and since its inception in 2004, has shoed more than 3 million people worldwide.

Swirsky decided to back the project after reading about the threat of puncture wounds and hook worm infection that many shoeless people in developing nations face.

“Giving used shoes is something that’s so easy to do, and it meets a big need,” Swirsky said. “We’re just asking people to clean out their closets.”

Organizers are hoping to draw donations from across the community of every kind of shoe, from gently worn high heels to trainers.

"It’s just one way to be a light in the community,” Youth Pastor Johnathan Sublet said of the shoe drives. “God depends on us to share what He has given.”

Sublet tries to teach the young people of the congregation that mission work is not just an occasional, week-long push, but a way of life.

“Missions is a lifestyle choice,” he said. “There are many opportunities all around us every day to help if we’ll only use our senses and listen.”

Donations can be made at Hope Fellowship Church, 200 Lake Road in Lake Jackson, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through June 5, or at 10:50 a.m. at the June 8 worship service.

-Meredith Amos

Monday, June 02, 2008

Soles4Souls and Finish Line begin "Sole Destination"

Soles4Souls began their partnership with Finish Line, Inc. this week and launched a national shoe trade-in program at all 700 Finish Line store locations. The donation program, "Sole Destination," began yesterday, June 1st and will end on July 31st, 2008. It is part of many events for National Barefoot Week to be held June 1-7, 2008.
"During this week, we hope to draw attention to the over 300 million children worldwide who have never owned a pair of shoes, while also empowering people to make a difference by cleaning out their closet and donating shoes," said Wayne Elsey, Founder and CEO of Soles4Souls. "We are thrilled that Finish Line has graciously agreed to partner with us. The shoes donated by their customers will make a huge impact on the lives of thousands of people in desperate need."

"As an athletic footwear retailer, this is an exciting opportunity to serve those in our community and beyond through Sole Destination," said Derrick Walker, Finish Line Vice President of Marketing. "With this program, our customers have an easy and convenient way to give their shoes a second life."

During "National Barefoot Week", there will distribution events, walkathons, marathons, benefits, and retail trade-in events across the country scheduled for the rest of the week. It will be held each year during the first week of June.

Thousands of churches, civic groups and retailers will act as collection points in the weeks prior to and during Barefoot Week.
To help right now, please go to your local Finish Line store, June 1-July 31, 2008 and donate a pair of new or used shoes and receive $5 off the purchase of a new pair of shoes valued at $25 or more. Offer valid same day only. Some restrictions apply.
Please visit for trade rules and store locations near you.
About Finish Line
The Finish Line, Inc. is one of the largest mall-based specialty retailers operating under the Finish Line and Man Alive brand names. The Finish Line, Inc. is publicly traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol FINL. The Company currently operates 700 Finish Line stores in 47 states and online and 94 Man Alive stores in 19 states and online.

Twelve-Year Old Makes a Difference

If it's true that you can't judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes, 12-year-old Mark Minken may be in good standing.

He's sending more than 500 pairs of shoes — including 16 pairs of his own — to Soles4Souls for distribution to natural disaster victims and others in need.

Mark said he recognizes that shoes are something most people may take for granted.

"But I was just thinking about my ordinary life, and just thinking about the small things, what I couldn't live without," Mark said of the donation he launched as a bar mitzvah project. "(Without shoes) I couldn't do sports or go to school some days because of the weather. Some people don't have that."

The Manalapan-Englishtown Middle School seventh-grader's effort to help others has become a community initiative.

Mark, a Marlboro Jewish Center congregant, set up collections at the synagogue's Chai building, at St. Thomas More Church in Manalapan through his Boy Scout Troop 157, and at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Englishtown through the Knights of Columbus.

So far, he's collected more than 500 pairs. He's aiming to collect 613 pairs to match the number of commandments in the Jewish religious text, the Torah.

He and his mother, Wanda Minken, pick up the footwear in the family's 2008 GMC Yukon or family and friends drop them off at their Clinton Drive home. The shoes — which range from Steve Madden sneakers to Nine West pumps, from Uggs boots to Mark's own favorite pair of white Nikes with a blue swoosh - are being stored in a garage. About 10 to 20 percent of them have been brand new, Minken said.

"It's been like the pebble in the pond," she said. "You drop your pebble and there's all these rings that generate from that one little pebble."

The family plan to ship or deliver the donations themselves to Soles4Souls' Concord, Va., warehouse in the coming months. From there, the footwear will be shipped to areas and organizations in need in 35 states and 50 countries, including camps for disadvantaged children, abused women's shelters and Indian reservations in New Mexico.

Mark said he was pleased the "sole-ful" effort has drawn more local supporters to help victims — like children who were impacted by the May 12 earthquake in China estimated to have killed more than 50,000.

"They were just helpless and couldn't get away from it," Mark said. "I felt bad for them."

"Whenever I lose something I lose a little pride, like, I feel bad for myself," Mark said. "I hope that people who lost stuff, when they get these shoes, maybe they'll get something back from it — like they'll realize that people care about them, that people know what's going on there."