Friday, August 29, 2008

Manning kindergartners show off their new kicks

SC Kids Receive Shoes

The kids at Manning Early Childhood Center in South Carolina were delighted and surprised to receive pair of shoes to start the new school year. Dozens of kindergartners were given a pair navy blue Gospel brand shoes.

Soles4Souls spokesperson Tiffany Johnson participated in the event.

"The kids loved the shoes and the teachers and staff were so appreciative and thankful," said Johnson. "It was such an uplifting experience."

More shoes are on the way to Manning Childhood Center and eventually, the rest of the elementary will receive a pair of shoes.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Church in Valparaiso go Home Barefoot

David Wilson, the pastor of New Hope Baptist church in Valparaiso, FL, encouraged his congregation to wear gently worn shoes to last Sunday's service. At the close of the gathering, he challenged them to leave those shoes behind.

"Everyone that participated realized that we are blessed with more than most of the people in this world could even imagine," stated Wilson in his blog, 'A Pastor's Life'. "That we were blessed, not to hoard and to keep, but to give."

By the end of the service, the Soles4Souls bin was overflowing with men's, women's and kid's shoes of all styles and sizes.

"I have no idea who will one day wear the size 12 Converse Chuck Taylors that I gave," laughed Wilson.

Delaware Store Collecting Shoes

Peter Kate, a unique shoe boutique located in beautiful Greenville Delaware was established in 2001 by mother and daughter entrepreneurs Kathy Savage and Sissy Harris.

Harris and Savage are doing their best to help Soles4Souls 'change the world one pair at a time' by collecting new and gently used shoes.

Harris read about Soles4Souls online and decided to set up a collection box inside her store, offering customers a 15 percent discount if they bring shoes to donate.

“There are shoes out there, sitting in the backs of our closets, that someone would treasure,” she said.

The event started on August 21st and will go until Thursday, September 11th.

The store is located at 3830 Kennett Pike Rd in Greenville, DE. For more information about the event or Peter Kate's stylish shoes, handbags, jewelry and accessories, visit

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Shoe Drive in Myrtle Beach

Soles4Souls is collecting new and used shoes in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina through September at three convenient locations.

You can drop off your new and 'gently worn' shoes at The Finish Line stores at the Coastal Grand and Myrtle Beach (formerly Colonial) malls, as well as Foot Place, in the Wal-Mart plaza, across from Tanger Outlets off U.S. 17.

For more information, visit; or call Finish Line stores at 839-3213 (Coastal Grand mall) or 361-2487 (Myrtle Beach mall), or 449-1200 (Foot Place).

To ship donations, send shoes to Soles4Souls, Inc., 315 Airport Road, Roanoke, AL 36274.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Alabama Minister Racks up 13 Years of Walking for Shoes

Rick Hagans, a Southern Baptist minister from Auburn, Alabama will soon begin walking across the entire state of West Virginia. That would be a lot of miles for anyone (approximately 400 miles), but for Pastor Hagans, its just another walk, or as he puts it, another “Pilgrimage of a Promise”.

The promise and the first walk that came from it started way back in 1995, 13 years and almost 6,000 miles ago.

Pastor Hagans’ walking started when a little boy he met in a garbage dump during a church mission trip to Mexico asked him for a pair of shoes.

“We were on the last day of our annual Christmas mission trip when a little fella, no more than 5 or 6 years old came up to me and asked if he could swap the toys we’d given him for a simple pair of shoes. His own shoes were tattered with his toes sticking out well beyond the soles, and his were among the best in the dump.

Many people, including his own parents and sisters were barefoot, in a filthy dump, in a rare 30° snowy day in the Mexican trash pile they called home.” Hagans said that pitiful picture so struck a chord in his soul that while he had no shoes to give the boy, he gave him something more valuable, he gave him his word that he’d be back with shoes for everyone.

A school teacher at the time, Rick figured he could save a little money here and there and come up with the 80-100 pair of shoes he’d need to keep his word and provide the shoes everyone in that particular dump would require. The dream, to get those shoes somehow grew in Rick Hagans’ heart.

During a revival meeting that spring, he told a Birmingham congregation that if they’d help him raise shoes he would do something himself to earn them. Pastor Hagans pledged to walk all the way across Alabama if his friends would pledge a pair of shoes for every mile he’d cover. “They seemed enthusiastic about it so I upped the ante in a moment of excitement and told them I’d walk across Alabama barefoot like my little Mexican buddy if they’d help me raise 10 pair per mile.”

So his walking began. That first year, 1996, he indeed did walk across Alabama. Though walking barefoot on black-top highways in a hot Alabama July burned his feet so badly he ended up in a hospital.

He finished crossing Alabama that year, covering 300 miles, (East to West) and raising 30,000 pair of shoes. Hagans said when he was able to find that boy after returning to Mexico and when he put those new shoes on his feet, he felt more like Jesus than he’d ever felt like while preaching a sermon. So, like some sort of real life Forrest Gump, he walked on.

Over these past 12 years what he has done is walk across 28 states, covering over 6000 miles for which he has been given over 100,000 pair of shoes. “It’s hard to keep count of the shoes now that groups like Soles4Souls have started backing me.” Hagans told us, “We’ve taken tractor trailers full of shoes to Mexico, given away tens of thousands here in our own needy neighborhoods and even now we have a warehouse full of flip-flops and sandals we hope to ship to India.” Hagans smiles, “I guess I kept my word.”

If you’d like to help Pastor Hagans raise shoes, you can contact him at or call him at 334/332-3932 (he walks with his cell phone).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Soles4Souls Teams with Shoe Carnival

Soles4Souls and Shoe Carnival will partner together in September to provide a unique and fun fundraising program for Shoe Carnival customers. The drive will raise much needed funds for new shoes for those people hurting around the world.

Starting Wednesday, Sept. 3, through Wednesday, Sept. 24, Shoe Carnival customers can donate $2 which will provide one of the 300 million children around the world with their first pair of shoes.

Customers who donate a gently used pair of shoes at any participating Shoe Carnival location will receive a $5 coupon toward the purchase of a new pair of shoes. All the footwear collected during this special charitable event will go to Soles4Souls.

“Shoe Carnival is proud to support Soles4Souls through this exclusive fundraising program,” said Todd Beurman, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Shoe Carnival. “This partnership is a strong fit for our company and one that we think our Shoe Carnival customers will embrace. The funds raised and shoes donated in our stores will make a meaningful impact in the lives of people in need around the world.”

Shoe Carnival provides a real value on name brand shoes for the entire family, a variety of products, an exciting environment and a staff empowered to surprise the customers everyday. Shoe Carnival believes that shopping for shoes should be fun. It’s these spontaneous actions that make Shoe Carnival different.

To find a Shoe Carnival store location near you, click here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

ING Promotes Internal Shoe Drive for Soles4Souls

ING, the global company that provides financial services in more than 50 countries, is promoting internal shoe drives to benefit Soles4Souls. In coordinating with their recent "Orange goes Green" program, ING is offering another alternative for employees to help the environment. Donating 'gentle worn' shoes helps a person in need while keeping shoes out of our nation's landfills.

The "Orange goes Green" program also includes promoting national campaigns such as Earth Day, America Recycles, and Energy Star’s "Change-a-Light" day, while encouraging workers to use office-based recycling centers and participate in alternative transportation programs.

There are already seven ING sites on board with the Soles4Souls shoe program including centers in Atlanta, Des Moines, Minneapolis, Minot, Scottsdale, West Chestor and Windsor.

There is still time for every site to join the cause. Sponsoring sites will receive a large Soles4Souls bin placed in their lobby or other prominent location. ING employees can ask a member of your local Orange Goes Green or ING Community Partners committees for more information.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Running Fit's Drive Yields Big Results

After years of training for marathons on the streets of Ann Arbor, MI., LSA seniors Brad Stulberg and Nate Fink had more than a few pairs of shoes collecting dust in the back of their closets. But they didn't trash their kicks or sell them on eBay.

"I had run through a pair of shoes and I started thinking, 'I have these shoes sitting in my closet, there's got to be something better to do with them,' " Stulberg said. "Then I started thinking, 'Why not donate these shoes?' "

Stulberg developed the initial idea and got Fink, then vice president of the Michigan Student Assembly, involved in the project. The duo pitched the concept to Running Fit's owners, who were eager to help with the project.

Steve Angerman, a co-owner of the company, said runners often feel guilty about throwing away a pair of shoes that still look and work fine for everyday use but aren't suited for running anymore.

"It really is an issue that arises, and we thought, 'yeah, let's try to do something about that,' " he said.

In June, self-proclaimed "running junkies" Stuhlberg and Fink, joined Running Fit and started a campaign to benefit Soles4Souls. Customers who dropped off their used shoes at any of Running Fit's seven locations would receive a discount on their next purchase.

The donations began pouring in.

At the end of the two month collection time, the drive collected a staggering 2,954 pairs of shoes.

"When I first had the idea to do something with my old running shoes, I can assure you that I had nothing like what we accomplished together in my mind," said Stulberg. "The fact that this ran so smoothly is a true testament to the dedication of all the stakeholders involved in this project."

Stulberg said the health benefits of wearing shoes are vast, but often overlooked.

According to the World Health Organization, hookworm, a parasite that primarily enters the body through the feet, is a leading cause of anemia and protein malnutrition. It affects about 740 million people worldwide.

"In the majority of hookworm cases, the initial transmission occurs from the soil to the feet because people aren't wearing shoes," Stulberg said. "To better help you understand what this means, the quantifiable impact of this shoe drive is over 2.1 million dollars in medical cost avoidance."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

NFL Star hosts Back-to-School Event with YES and Soles4Souls

Jevon Kearse, the star defensive end for the Tennessee Titans, received a thunderous ovation from fans at his first game back since 2003. The “welcome-back” Jevon tour continued when he hosted a back-to-school event at Youth Encouragement Services (YES) for over 100 needy children of the metroNashville area.

Kearse partnered with YES, Soles4Souls and the local community for a special day with children, many of whom reside in the nearby J.C. Napier and Tony Sudekum public housing complexes. In addition to giving away school supplies, sandals and backpacks, Kearse also organized a pizza party and free back-to-school haircuts from local barbers.

Greeting the children with smiles and hugs, Kearse also took pictures and signed autographs for every child in attendance.
Kearse said while he was growing up, he didn’t have any professional athletes come back and speak to him. He believes that by kids being able to meet him and see a real life Titan, they too will know anything is possible.

"We didn't have anybody come back to show their face, somebody's who's been where I've been to give them some enlightenment that there are going to be better days, and that it's okay to dream," said Kearse.

YES, a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of children in inner-city Nashville, operates three centers that offer educational and recreational programs as alternatives for kids during after school hours, weekends and summer break. The programs offered by YES effectively keep children living in the inner-city off the street, giving them a safe place to go where they can engage in social, educational and cultural activities.

“By Jevon holding this event and donating his time and resources to these children is really a blessing,” said Daryl Elliott, center director of the Lindsley YES location. “Just to have the opportunity to have school supplies provided for each one of these families helps them to be able to spend their funds on other necessities as they prepare for this upcoming school year.”

Monday, August 11, 2008

These Shoes Were Made For...Donating

Starting this fall, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts will donate footwear from Fairmont Fit, a program which offers members of Fairmont President’s Club, the brand’s exclusive guest recognition program, access to adidas athletic apparel for use during their stay.

Guests and community members are invited to drop off gently used athletic shoes at Fairmont locations across North America from Monday, January 19 to Friday, January 23, 2009, and the Fairmont team will do the rest.

In recognition of this support, Fairmont Fit partner adidas will offer an exclusive discount card for 15% off adidas merchandise, to be used online at

"We’re proud to support Soles4Souls’ efforts. The partnership makes sense; with locations around the world, we can provide sizable quantities of a much needed item, but we also mitigate our impact on the planet,” noted Brian Richardson, Fairmont’s Vice President Brand Marketing and Communications.

Fairmont President’s Club is the hotel company’s premier guest recognition program, providing frequent guests with certain benefits and privileges during their stay. Membership is complimentary and guests can enroll online at, by calling 1-800-663-7575 or at any Fairmont location worldwide.

The Adventures of Dash

With 1,600 miles and 11 weeks of barefoot walking behind, Dashiel Alsup is not quite halfway to his goal but at least his feet have developed calluses offering him some protection.

Dash is walking across the U.S. for Soles4Souls, to collect pledges and inspire people to donate shoes to the cause.

He is currently taking a short break in his home town of Cotopaxi, Colorado where local reporters and news outlets were waiting to hear is story.

He began his trip in April bringing minimal food, mostly Ramen noodles and peanut butter. On longer stretches he would buy a loaf of bread and make sandwiches.

Occasionally he treated himself to meal in a restaurant and on a few occasions, was invited to share a meal with friendly locals. One of those was in Spray, Ore., where locals were preparing for the annual rodeo, the highlight of the year there.

Someone showed him a spot he could sleep for the night and in the morning he was invited in for a feast of pancakes, eggs, donuts and coffee.

Near Antelope, Ore., a motorist warned him to watch for cougars. As it turned out, the weather was more problem than cougars. Rain turned to snow and in the headlights of each passing car he watched for eyes in the dark, hoping if there were any cougars they wouldn't want to tangle with a barefoot walker. That day and night was one of his longest walks, logging 34 miles.

He wasn't always barefoot. On the first part of the trip, when weather was sometimes cold, he learned after he started walking and blood began flowing in his feet, being barefoot wasn't a problem.

On a few occasions when asphalt was unbearably hot and scorched his feet, he wore a pair of sandals he had in his backpack."The first week I had blisters and then shin splints," he said. "Rain puckered my feet and later heat dried them out. It was harder walking in the heat than anything."

He wrapped his feet a couple of times, but never had a problem serious enough to require stitches.

He carries a small tent and sometimes he will pitch it beside the road. Most of the time he just rolled out his sleeping bag.

"At first I was anxious to get farther away from the road, but after awhile I realized no one was going to bother me," he said.

Along the way he stopped at libraries and places where public computers were available to post messages to his blog. Pay phones kept him in touch with his family every three or four days.

Occasionally he was joined by friends who walked with him, although they chose to wear shoes. The route took him through Oregon into Idaho and part of Utah, into Wyoming and back through Utah and finally across Colorado.

"One of the most memorable times was walking in Flaming Gorge, above Vernal, Utah," he said. "The first day I got there at sunset. A four mile stretch had a 6-percent grade.

"I was warm and sweating and anxious to get to the top where there was a beautiful sunset. You stay on top for about 20 miles, like a mesa, and start down again."

In Colorado, he was joined by a friend from CaƱon City who walked 30 miles with him over Monarch Pass to Salida.

"I stayed the night in Salida, and my dad walked with me that morning on the 17 miles home. We stopped at my mom's veterinary clinic in Howard and the three of us walked the last four miles together," he said."I broke down as I reached the newspaper box at our driveway. The driveway was hung with summer green, elm trees blowing. All the time I was walking, this sight was in my mind."

Now enjoying a couple of weeks respite, and attending the wedding of a friend, he's ready for the road heading toward Florida to complete his barefoot journey designed to put shoes on other people's feet.

To read more about his trip, visit Dash Alsup's blog at

Moszkito Donates Orthotics

Moszkito Inc., the company that offers quality orthotic sandals, foot orthotics and walking sandals donated 11,754 pair to be distributed by Soles4Souls.

Moszkito is dedicated to producing quality footbeds and sandals that help ease the daily aches and pains of common foot problems. The shoes donated will allow the less fortunate in warmer climates to move on with their daily activities of work and play with the support they need.

"Soles4souls has a unique method of helping those who need it fast, and being able to distribute some healthy footwear for those who need a little support is a wonderful thing," said Laurin Fox, Founder, Moszkito, Inc. "As a small company it is great to be able to help, we look forward to working with Soles4souls in the future."

Donation Drive Aimed to Help Africa and Honor David Parrish

Soles4Souls will be conducting a donation drive in honor of the incredible life of David Parrish, the young man who lost his life protecting his mother during a robbery in Mexico. Parrish was dedicated to helping everyone he came in contact with and Soles4Souls has also developed the David Parrish Honorary Flip Flop in his honor.

People can help continue the mission of David and Soles4Souls by purchasing these unique sandals. Made with a logo designed by David and his sister Lesley, and featuring the famous Flatirons rock formations near David's hometown of Boulder, Colorado, these flip flops will offer relief to someone in desperate need.

Your $10 purchase of a pair of flip flops for yourself means that 2 additional pairs will be donated and sent to Africa for people experiencing hardships there. Do not forget to choose the size that you wish to receive. The sizes and gender of flip flops to be distributed to Africa will be determined by the local need. The flip flops will be available for shipment beginning in September 2008. For more information, visit

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Adventure Records Announce Shoe Drive

Adventure Records and Radio 1190 proudly announce the release of Adventure Records, Volume 5 on Friday, August 15th at the Hi-Dive, 7 S. Broadway, Denver, CO at 8:30 pm featuring music by The Swayback, John Common, Kissing Party, Three Cheers Faraday and Goodbye Champion. Show is 18+. Tickets $12 in advance/$10 at the door. Volume 5 CD included with ticket purchase.

Adventure Records will also be hosting a new and gently-used shoe drive for Soles4Souls at the hi-dive. Adventure Records is dedicating this CD to the memory of David Parrish who was slain in Mexico last year while trying to prevent his mother from being robbed. Soles4Souls approached the Parrish family about producing a David Parrish Honorary Flip Flop to honor David's life using a design on the shoe created by David and his sister, Lesley.

Those providing new, gently-used shoes or a receipt for the purchase of the David Parrish Honorary Flip Flop at the CD release party will be given a CD of Adventure Records, Volume 4.

Adventure Records and Soles4Souls feel a particular kinship with the simple mission that impact lives. We get shoes and give them away. They get music and give it away.

Adventure Records will be hosting a shoe drive of new and gently used shoes for Soles4Souls at the Hi-Dive on August 15th. Please bring your pretty faces (and your pretty shoes) to the Hi-Dive on August 15th for a rollicking adventure in record-ness!

Volunteer Gives Heart and Soles

When Karen Shannon's boss asked her and other employees at the Vanderbilt University Recreation Center to consider taking on a charitable project, it wasn't hard for Shannon to figure out what to do.

An active member of Greater Grace Temple Church, Shannon has long helped food pantries and homeless shelters. Shannon had been listening to radio spots for Soles4Souls in Nashville and decided to do a drive of her own.

She was provided with two collection bins. Shannon worked with Vanderbilt's camp director to get children and their parents involved in the effort. Within a few weeks, Shannon found her office packed with 12 large, stuffed garbage bags full of sneakers, sandals, house slippers, loafers and tennis shoes for children and adults.

"I didn't expect it to go this well," Shannon said. "But a lot of the parents as well as the children — I guess they looked at as a good idea and they just ran with it. It was so easy."

And that, said Shannon, is one of the lessons learned about putting her faith into action. Doing charitable work can be simple, easy and make a real difference. Shannon is no stranger to volunteering and said she is motivated by her faith and compassion for those less fortunate.

"It was actually pretty easy," she said. "I just went to Soles4Souls Web site, submitted an e-mail for more information about how to get involved and someone e-mailed me back the same the day. I never expected to get 12 bags of shoes with so little effort."

Monday, August 04, 2008

Holy Cross Walks the Talk with Shoe Drive

A church in Olive Branch, MS is putting feet -- or rather, shoes -- on its faith.

In about four weeks, Holy Cross Episcopal Church, has collected more than one pair for each of its approximately 120 members.

"We've got over 160 pairs already," said Rev. Bruce Cheney, Holy Cross' pastor. "We had one lady bring 10 pairs -- cleaning out her closet, I guess."

Cheney is calling for other local churches to join Holy Cross in the effort. Sometime in September, the congregation will end its shoe drive and send the "gently used" footwear to the Soles4Souls' warehouse in Tennessee.

Soles4Souls as a "No-calorie Fund Raising Idea"

Every parent has experienced the dread that comes with their child announcing a school or sports team fund raiser. Parents find themselves helping their child hawk containers of high-caloric cookie dough or skimpy rolls of wrapping paper or calendars they’ll never use or magazine subscriptions to Bee Keeper Gazette.

Finance Home Investments suggests the school or team try a few innovative fund raising ideas instead. They mentioned Teachers Lip Sync Extravaganza which use your rock n' roll lip syncing talents to raise money. They mentioned sponsored pet shows. They also mentioned Soles4Souls and had this to say:

300 million children around the world are without a pair of shoes. Teach your children how to help others while also raising money for your organization. Soles4Souls, a non-profit agency, has distribute over 3 million pairs of shoes around the world. Students simply take orders for clogs or flip flops, which Soles4Souls distributes free of charge to people in need. For every $5.00 flip flops or $10.00 clogs students sell, your organization receives 40% of the proceeds. More important, your student’s efforts help put a pair of shoes on the feet of someone in an impoverished or disaster-stricken area of the world. Contact or 615-391-5723.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Donated Shoes nearly destroyed in Accident

Two weeks ago, a shipment of a few hundred pairs of shoes arrived at the Soles4Souls distribution center in Virginia. According to Linda Mooser of Books & Company, it was amazing that they even made it.

Mooser, the owner of Books & Company in Hamden, CT, just finished a successful shoe drive in which they collected 562 pairs of shoes for Soles4Souls. She told the shipper that she wasn't in any hurry to send them, but he sent a truck the next day anyway, arriving a half hour before they closed on Monday, July 15.

At midnight, Mooser was awakened with the news that a car being chased by the police had crashed through her bookstore's front window at over 80 MPH and took out everything in its path for nearly 100 feet. This culminated in the customer bathroom being destroyed and the pipes bursting, adding flood to the mix. It resembled the aftermath of a cyclone.

The shoes (which were in boxes under tables which were levelled) would have been destroyed if they had still been there. Mooser estimates that it will be 6 to 8 weeks before she is back in business, but she is glad that the shoes made it.

"I considered this a great blessing, given the energy I expended and the purpose behind the shoe collection," stated Mooser. "So they are miracle shoes of a sort!"

Mooser was also very thankful that no one was hurt. Even the driver fled on foot.
The Soles4souls crew is glad that the shoes made it but we feel awful about Linda's store. Our thoughts and prayers are with her at this time. She is such a gracious and giving person and we know that she will bounce back from this.

Westhampton Christian Church

Westhampton Christian Church collected over 150 pairs of shoes, weighing in over 200 lbs. These shoes that were donated on “Barefoot Sunday” will be donated to Soles4Souls to be distributed domestically to families in West Virginia, and internationally to Guatemala, Nepal and Myramar.

After the service on that Sunday, the children in the church took off their shoes and went up and down the aisles collecting change in their shoes.

Great job Westhampton Christian Church!