Thursday, July 31, 2008

Jeff Fisher & Friends

The 2008 "Jeff Fisher & Friends" Charity Softball Game recently hosted a pre-game reception and silent auction at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery.

The catered event benefited Mercy Ministries, 2nd Harvest Food Bank, Soles4Souls, Catch-A-Dream and several other local charities. The event has risen over $400,000 to date.

Lehigh Safety Shoe Company Helping Soles4Souls to Recycle Safety Shoes

Lehigh Safety Shoe Company is one of the largest and most respected safety footwear companies in the world and they are joining Soles4Souls to provide an easy way to trade in 'gently worn' safety shoes and boots to help people in need. Each pair of boots and shoes will go directly to a person in need while keeping the footwear out of American landfills.

The Soles4Souls-Lehigh Trade-in Program is a unique way for Americans to reach out to others in the working force that cannot afford the proper footwear to perform their duties safely. Soles4Souls is looking for safety directors, plant managers and others in the industrial community to answer our call to action and help thousands in need.

"We are excited to join Soles4Souls. Lehigh would like to see these shoes on people's feet rather than being dumped in a landfill," stated Richard Simms, Sr. Vice President and General Manager of Lehigh Safety Shoes.

Industrial companies currently hosting shoe fairs or shoemobile events at their plants can easily participate by signing up with Lehigh and Soles4Souls. Each participating location will receive donation boxes, brochures and advertising materials for the event, and PR coverage in their local market highlighting their company as a partner in the recycling program.

For more information or to sign up, visit You may also email Pattie Graben at or call (615) 391-5723.

See Kai Run, customers donate 8,000 pairs of shoes

As a result of a matching fund-raising event held last month, shoe manufacturer See Kai Run will donate over 8,000 pairs of shoes to Soles4Souls.

The event included both sales made online at as well as through its retail partners. With this donation, See Kai Run will have shared over 24,000 pairs of shoes total to children who need them the most.

“We want to thank everyone who has helped make this event a success,” said Cause Haun, founder. “We’ll continue to plan future philanthropic events that can be powered by our customers’ enthusiasm for See Kai Run. Soles4Souls makes it extremely easy for footwear manufacturers to get their shoes to the children who need them the most. We’re grateful for the work they do.”

Shoe Store Puts Shoes To Good Use

Kathy's Shoe Store in Thomasville, Georgia is participating in a shoe drive to benefit Soles4Souls.

"I only started collecting this past Thursday and we probably have over 300 pairs of shoes already. We've had a lot of phone calls asking how long will this be going on, well it will be going on forever,"said Kathy Murphy, owner of Kathy's in Thomasville.

Kathy says if you bring in a gently worn pair of shoes through August first, she will give you ten percent off the purchase of a new pair.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

E.L.M. Shoes launches shoe drive

E.L.M. SHOES, 3 Center Square, is hosting a shoe drive to benefit Soles4Souls. During the shoe drive, E.L.M. SHOES will be offering a 15 percent discount to all customers who bring in gently worn pairs of shoes toward the effort. The shoe drive runs through Aug. 30.

"We are excited about the opportunity to benefit both those in need and our customers with our Trade IN event." Loren Martin, president of E.L.M. SHOES, said. "We all have shoes setting in our closet that we don't wear any more. By trading them in they can benefit someone in need and you can have the opportunity to save 15 percent off a new pair of shoes," said Martin.

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

Parents as Teachers National Center employees donate shoes to Soles4Souls

Employees of Parents as Teachers National Center, a St. Louis-based international nonprofit organization, stepped up by donating more than 140 pairs of gently worn shoes to the Soles4Souls Shoe Campaign between June 16-July16. The shoes will be shipped to the Soles4Souls warehouses in Tennessee.

"As an organization devoted to helping families provide their children with the best start possible, Parents as Teachers National Center could not resist the chance to help families in need of a basic necessity," says Susan Stepleton, CEO and President of Parents as Teachers National Center. "This was a chance for us to reach out to another non-profit that is doing excellent work and we enjoyed the opportunity."

About Parents as Teachers National Center
Based in St. Louis, Parents as Teachers National Center is the resource base and backbone of Parents as Teachers, a parent education and early childhood development program serving parents throughout pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten, usually age 5. The nonprofit National Center oversees approximately 3,000 programs offering Parents as Teachers services nationwide as well as in several other countries. For more information about Parents as Teachers, visit

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Catholic Charities receive Shoes

When Soles4Souls called Catholic Charities in New Orleans and offered 68,000 pairs of flip flops, it was not easy for them to picture the scope of that many shoes. Luckily, Second Harvest Food Bank offered their warehouse for storage, and helped them to distribute the shoes to those who needed them.

Elsey and a representative from KIDS (Kids in Distressed Situations) visited St. John the Baptist Head Start Center to personally give out some of the flip flops to the children.

"The children went crazy over the new sandals," said Gloria Cabrera, Director of Head Start. "They love unexpected gifts - it was like they had gotten a new toy."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Q&A with St. Marks

St. Mark's United Methodist Church is collecting new and gently worn shoes to be distributed by Soles4Souls. Liz Rix, the church's mission coordinator, and Nancy Canning, a church employee recently sat down with Indystar to answer some questions about their mission and goals for the drive.

Question: Have you collected shoes for this organization in the past? Why did you choose this particular organization to help?

Answer: No, this is our first time to work with Soles4Souls. Three hundred million children around the world live barefoot, according to Soles4Souls. St. Mark's felt this would be a new mission opportunity for a worthwhile cause and something people could relate to, especially following the devastation of the flooding earlier this year in nearby communities.
Having shoes go to people who don't even have one pair rather than sit in closets or fill landfills provides benefits on several levels.

Q: Are there any congregation members who have family affected by the Midwest floods this year?

A: Yes, there are several who have family members (who) have been impacted this year.

Q: You mentioned that many have already donated shoes. What's the most typical kind of shoe people donate?

A: We have already received approximately 800 pairs of shoes. The donations include men's, women's and children's shoes, including many new pairs as well as gently used. There is really a wide variety from dress shoes, sneakers to flip-flops.

Q: Where are the shoes shipped to?

A: Our shoes will go to a Soles4Souls warehouse in Nashville, Tenn. Soles4Souls will ship them to areas of need in the United States and around the world from there.

Q: How do people who need shoes find out how to receive help?

A: Contact Soles4Souls Web site,, for information.

Q: How many volunteers are involved in the project at St. Mark's?

A: The collection is a communitywide effort with St. Mark's volunteers working each week to sort the shoes as they are donated. This effort will take at least 25 volunteers.

Q: What other kinds of charitable drives does the church get involved in?

A: St. Mark's is a mission-oriented church, emphasizing a different collection each month such as school supplies for Operation Classroom; Brightwood Community Center and Interfaith Hospitality Network; food for local food pantries; Christmas Gifts for Fletcher Place Community Center and East 10th St. United Methodist Children & Youth Center; and other needs as they arise throughout the year. Soles4Souls is in addition to this ongoing effort.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bob's Stores Hosting Drive

Bob's Stores, with thirty-four locations throughout the Northeast, has announced a charitable partnership with Soles4Souls.

From July 27 through September 2, individual Bob's Stores will display Soles4Souls collection bins at their customer service desks, accepting gently worn footwear from shoppers to be distributed to those most in need.

"We are pleased to announce our partnership with Soles4Souls," explains Bob's Stores spokesperson Renee Guida. "We encourage our valued customers to bring gently worn shoes to their local Bob's Stores to join in our efforts to support this worthy cause. It's a simple yet rewarding way to contribute. You can even bring your old shoes to donate while shopping for a new pair."

Shoppers can donate men's, women's or children's sneakers and other footwear at their local Bob's Stores. Visit for store locations.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

St. Mark's Feat is Collecting Shoes

St. Mark's United Methodist Church, 126th Street and Gray Road in Carmel, Indiana is collecting new and gently worn shoes for Soles4Souls.

From flip-flops to tennis shoes, high heels to work boots, all styles of shoes are accepted and needed. Shoe donations may be dropped off at St. Mark's through Aug. 3. Financial contributions to assist in shipping the shoes (approximately $1 per pair) will also be accepted.

Mail checks made out to "St. Marks" to 4780 E. 126th St., Carmel, IN 46003. Please note "Souls4Soles" on the memo line of the check. For more information, visit or call the church at (317) 846-4912.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Man Walking across America barefoot for Soles4Souls

There have been all kinds of treks across the United States. Many people have driven or biked it. Some have walked it. One man even went coast to coast on his lawnmower.
But walking 3,400 miles from the Pacific to the Atlantic barefoot?

Meet 19-year old Dash Alsup.

Alsup, a Washington native, began training about a year ago. Since he decided to make this trip, he has been walking around town with his pack — 45 pounds — to train. He will carry a small tent and sleeping bag along with other supplies.

Along the way, he hopes to collect pledges for Soles4Souls.

"It kind of made sense to do it without shoes," Alsup said. "It’s something I hadn’t heard of anyone doing.”

On April 30th, Dash started his journey in Canon City, Washington. It is reported that he is now somewhere near Denver, Colorado. He plans to reach Daytona Beach in Florida by late October or early November.

Check out Dash's blog about his trip:

Bellingham Bells Recap

Volunteers and members of the Bellingham Bells in Washington collected over hundred pair of shoes for Soles4Souls during their "Beach Day" game last Sunday. They also passed out brochures and collected money to help with the shipping cost of the shoes.

There was also food, prizes and crafts for kids that involved shoes. Everyone had fun and members of the organization hope to make it an annual event.

Great job Bellingham Bells!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

WIC Program Starts Soles4Souls Project

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children - better known as the WIC Program - serves to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants, & children up to age 5 who are at risk.

WIC participants in West Virginia are kicking up their heels and stepping out in style this summer in their new shoes provided by local podiatrist, Dr. Lenord Horwitz as part of the Soles4Souls project.

Shoe manufacturers who have partnered with Soles4Souls have donated shoes to be given out to families in need. Dr. Horwitz chose to donate 110 pairs of Sketchers canvas slip-ons to the TSN/WIC Program clinics in Bluefield and Welch, West Virginia.

Parents and TSN staff alike are delighted with the smiles of the children as they try on their new shoes during this pilot phase of the project.

"They're asking about shoes for toddlers too," comments TSN clerk Mary Williams, about the excited mothers and caregivers. Program director Elva Clemons is optimistic about getting more varieties and sizes in the future.

Monday, July 14, 2008

2008 Field Day Event Recap

On June 11th, the Deaf Elementary Department from the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine, Florida, celebrated the end of school with their annual Field Day. Nearly 100 students ages 3 to 13 participated in the fun event.

Activities included water games, a dunking booth and a waterslide. There was also a delicious cook-out with hot dogs, snow cones and pop corn.

Students attended the event wearing bathing suits, decorated t-shirts and very special “water shoes” donated by Soles4Souls.

Family aims to touch souls in David Parrish's memory

Steve Parrish, of Boulder Colorado, is learning to live life as a grieving father. And he’s driven to honor his son’s memory.

Less than four months ago, University of Colorado junior David Parrish was fatally shot in Puerto Vallarta while trying to protect his mother from robbers.

“As a bereaved parent, our biggest challenge is to keep the memory alive,” said Steve Parrish, who talked publicly for the first time Friday about losing his son. “You are driven by the loss of a child and wanting to do right and something in their memory.”

Steve Parrish and his daughter have been working with Soles4Souls to create flip-flops in David’s memory. For every pair of the sandals sold on the company’s Web site at, two pairs of shoes will be sent to Africa for people in need.

“He would be smiling, absolutely,” Parrish said. “Yes, he would be glowing. I can see the look on his face.”

The idea to donate shoes to the shoeless overseas grew out of David’s enthusiasm both for unique footwear and traveling, his father said.

“He did have a passion for collecting unique shoes,” Parrish said. “I have six lifetime supplies of those things.”

When the time is right, Parrish said, he plans to donate them. In the meantime, he and his daughter are working with Soles4Souls on the flip-flop project that started after the company’s founder — touched by David’s story — contacted the family with the idea.

Lesley Parrish, David’s sister, has designed and spearheaded the development of the flip-flops, including the logo centered on the sole of the flip-flops — a setting sun over the Flatirons.
Before David died, he and his sister vowed to get matching Flatirons tattoos.

“Sadly,” Steve Parrish said, “that never happened.”

So, after David’s death, Lesley Parrish got the setting-sun tattoo and had a plaque of the image made for her brother’s headstone. Now, the picture will be touching soles worldwide.

“Lesley told me, ‘Before we started talking to (Soles4Souls), I would go to bed every night sad,’” Steve Parrish said. “‘Now I’m excited for the first time because I know what I’m doing.’”

A tag with David’s photo will be attached to each set of sandals, along with Soles4Souls’ mission statement. The shoes are being sent to Africa because his mother, Janet Graaff, is from South Africa, the family has deep roots on the continent and David studied abroad in Morocco.

Orders are being taken for the $10 shoes, and Steve Parrish said plenty of people already have claimed pairs — including friends in Europe and family members in Africa. Delivery will begin in late August or early September.

The project is a fitting memorial for David Parrish, who was mature beyond his years and, at a young age, became a sort of international good-will ambassador, his father said.

On March 26, the day David Parrish was killed, he was in Mexico with his mother. They had just bought a vacation home in the small fishing community of Sayulita, and they were in Puerto Vallarta looking for furniture when two strangers tried to rob Graaff.

The men had seen her pull money from a cash machine, watched the mother and son eat lunch and followed them to a furniture store. As Graaff walked to her car, the men approached and demanded her bag. When her son, who was still inside the store, saw the men pulling at Graaff’s bag, he ran outside and began fighting with the robbers.

One of them had a .38-caliber handgun and told the other man to shoot. He did, firing one shot into David Parrish’s stomach. They were less than 20 yards from a hospital, where David Parrish died.

Steve Parrish said he learned of the tragedy immediately.

The suspected robbers were arrested, but days later the accused killer — Alfonso Ramirez Sastre, 30 — posed as another inmate about to be released from jail and escaped. Mexican authorities launched a nationwide search, but Sastre still is missing.

“I am not going to spend $4 million to hire a posse to comb through Mexico,” Steve Parrish said. “But, yes, there is a sense of justice that I hope is achieved. But I will listen for it, not try to probe it and push it.”

Lynn Roche, a public affairs officer for the U.S. consulate, said Friday that the other suspect is still making his way through the legal system and has not been convicted in the homicide.
Steve Parrish said he doesn’t plan to visit the site of his son’s shooting at this point.

“David is dead,” he said, “and I need to say good-bye and honor his memory.”

Lesley Parrish is now in Mexico with her mother and some friends from Boulder. She might visit the place her brother was killed, her father said.

Parrish said his son’s bravery in the moment it counted has captured his admiration.

“You sit there and sometimes say, in various emergency situations, ‘How would I react?’” Steve Parrish said. “I’ve thought, ‘How would I have reacted?’ But, by golly, there is someone who knew and did react, and as a parent, I couldn’t be prouder.”

-The dailycamera

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Bellingham Bells Holding Shoe Drive on July 13

Fans of the Bells baseball team in Bellingham, Washington will have a chance to 'step-up' by donating their new or gently worn shoes at Joe Martin Field during the game. The Bells Baseball Club will be having a "Beach Day" on Sunday, July 13th when they host the Corvallis Knights.

Fans are encouraged to wear their best beach attire and to help out a very important cause. The game will start at 4:00 pm, gates to open at 3:00 pm.

"Since we hope our fans will be wearing sandals, flip-flops and other beach attire, what a great day to also donate your extra shoes at the game," stated Bells manager Dave Lewis. "There are people all over the world who have been victims of terrible circumstances or just can't afford footwear."

The concourse of Joe Martin Field will have collection boxes and Soles4Souls representatives to assist in the collection of the shoes. Fans who do not have shoes to donate can still help out by donating money to aid in the shipping and delivery of the shoes.

Silvana and Allan Clark have been involved locally in Bellingham with several Soles4Souls events.

"Last summer we distributed shoes in Guatemala for Soles4Souls to children who didn't even own a pair of shoes. They were so excited to have shoes to protect their feet as they walked long distances over dirt roads," Allan said. "Americans take for granted that we have shoes for any occasion. Many people in developing countries risk cuts and infections to their feet because they don't own a single pair of shoes."

Students Receive Summer Shoes

Dear Soles4Souls,

I've attached some pictures taken during our Deaf Elementary Field Day showing some of our lucky students wearing "water shoes" donated from Soles4Souls.

A special thank you goes to Paul Wilson for his help in coordinating this gift. As always, I wanted to thank you for your continued support and generosity, it means so much to our children.

Hope all is well.

Warm regards,
Gail Burr

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Colorado Church Collects 1,500 Pair of Shoes

Becky Musgrove, a member of Amazing Grace Community Church in Northglenn found a simple idea when she read an article in Guideposts Magazine about the need for shoes in developing countries or in regions hit by natural disaster.

"Most people in the United States have such an abundance of material goods," said Musgrove. "There are 1.5 billion pairs of shoes out there just lying around without a use, and most of the time they just end up in a landfill."

Amazing Grace Community Church began meeting at Northglenn High School in June. Since the church was already looking for a mission project to present to her new church, Musgrove decided to pitch the idea of a shoe drive for Soles4Souls, which distributes shoes to people in need throughout the world.

The idea was a hit.

"We started passing out fliers around the neighborhood, just hoping neighbors would look around and look for extra shoes lying around in their home," said Pastor Kent Replogle. "We thought we might see a few pairs, maybe a few hundred."

After handing out door fliers to 1,500 homes in the neighborhood, the church expected a trickle of donations. After a few weeks, the donations turned from a trickle to more of a flood.

"We have as many pairs of shoes as homes we visited in June," said Replogle, looking over a collection of more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, heels and boots piled along the front wall of the church's meeting place, a small theatre at Northglenn High School.

"The problem now is we got a bit too big."

With what amounts to a small freight of shoes on their hands, the church is asking for someone to donate a truck, some room in a truck or gas cards to help ship the Amazing Grace donation to the nearest Soles4Souls drop site in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The shoes need to be out of the high school by the middle of July.
If you would like to help, contact Pastor Kent Replogle at or contact the church at 303-919-4662.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Soles4Souls Participates in Hurricane Starter Kits

Hundreds of people in Miami-Dade County were waiting in long lines last Friday to receive a free hurricane ''starter kit'' in anticipation for the hurricane season. More than 100 volunteers handed out over 1,500 kits to South Miami-Dade's poor.

''The reality is that there is unbelievable need in our own backyards,'' said Wayne Elsey of Soles4Souls, one of the event donors. ''The purchase of a pair of shoes might mean the difference between buying a gallon of milk or a gallon of gas. We really need to open our eyes,'' he said.

Despite rising costs, donors such as Navarro Discount Pharmacies, Publix Supermarkets, Sedano's Supermarkets, Soles4Souls, State Farm Insurance and Winn-Dixie Marketplace all donated time and supplies to the effort.

According to Patricia Robbins, founder and chairman of Farm Share, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez contacted them about creating the hurricane kits for residents in the area living at the poverty level.

Each kit contained several pairs of flip flops, first aid items, hygiene items, canned foods, a flashlight with spare batteries, ponchos, plastic forks, knives and spoons, as well as four MREs, or Meals Ready to Eat. In addition, each family also received bread and a gallon of water and orange juice.

''We had originally wanted to do 72-hour kits, but the economy has put a scare on many donors, so we had to scramble to find enough to create the basic kit,'' said Gail Robbins, chief operating officer of Farm Share.

Those receiving the kits, however, were grateful for the aid.

'This shows our community leaders' concern for the population in need, it's good to see everyone helping and donating,'' Farm Share recipient Maribel YƱigo said.

Farm Share regularly distributes food to more than 703,000 families in Florida.

The organization sorts and repackages surplus produce and other foods and gives them to agencies and families in poor, rural areas.

Local JobCorps students, police youth groups and Junior ROTC members were on hand to help hand out the kits and direct the traffic of waiting families.

''Coming here today helped me focus on helping people who really need it ,'' said Destiny Rose Ortiz, a JobCorps student volunteer.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Richmond Braves Announce Shoe Drive

The Richmond Braves (the AAA affiliate to the Atlanta Braves) are teaming up with Saxon Shoes to launch a collection for new and gently used shoes to be donated to Soles4Souls. Any pair of new or gently used donated shoes may be dropped off at either The Diamond or the Saxon Shoes location in Short Pump now through August 7th. For every pair of shoes donated, the Braves will provide one general admission ticket to the game on August 7, 2008.

Soles4Souls Night will be held at The Diamond on Thursday, August 7th, 2008 at 7 pm as the Richmond Braves take on the Durham Bulls. Wayne Elsey, the Founder and CEO of Soles4Souls, will be present to throw out a first pitch before the game.