Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Amy Grant Partners with Soles4Souls and The Bridge

Amy Grant, the popular singer-song writer will partner with Soles4Souls and The Bridge to distribute footwear and other supplies for the homeless in the Nashville area.

The service will be held tonight (September 30th) at 6 p.m. directly under the Jefferson Street Bridge on 2nd Ave North. We ask that you please park in the Farm Bureau Insurance parking lot.

In addition to leading a short service, Amy will be performing a concert. Her Grammy winning husband, Vince Gill will participate as well.

"The Bridge" ministry feeds, hands out clothing and has a church service under the bridge for all the homeless people living in Nashville. During the summer they average about 350 homeless people. Every Tuesday night at 6pm, homeless people from all across Nashville come down under the Jefferson Street Bridge to get food, clothing and hear great singing and a short message from guest speakers all across the country.

The Amazing 'Sole Sisters'

Here is a letter we received from a dedicated supporter in Saluda, SC. She and three of her friends, along with support from the community collected a staggering amount of shoes:

Dear Soles4Souls,
Sometime ago, I read an article about a group of women at a church collecting 309 pairs of shoes for Soles4Souls, and that presented a challenge for me. Surely, I thought, three of my friends and I could surpass that number. So with article in hand I approached my friends with the challenge, asking them to set a goal and we would strive for the highest one. They ranged from 50 pairs to 1200 pairs. We decided to collect for a month and our campaign kicked off on March 30 with a supper at St. Paul UMC in Saluda, SC. The admission price for the meal was at least one pair of shoes and we collected 215 pairs. From that time on, the Sole Sisters (Ann Forrest Watkins, Sandra K. Fulmer, Susan Trotter & Vicky Norrell) were on the move.

A staff member at Saluda Middle School read of our effort and contacted me to say that she was initiating a drive at the school, too. By the end of April, they had amassed over 1,000 pairs with the winning student bringing in 217 pairs.

We established 10 collection points in and around Saluda and made several pick-ups a week. After the garage and the side porch of two of the Sole Sisters were overflowing, one of the other sister’s husband agreed to let us use a portion of his warehouse for storage. Another of the sister’s husband mentioned the campaign to a woodworking friend of his and a sign was crafted and donated to us and was placed at the front of St. Paul to announce our progress.

Two area merchants, C.B. Forrest & Son of Saluda and Amick’s Shoe Shop in Batesburg , SC combined to donate over 500 pairs of new shoes. And the pile of bagged shoes at the warehouse grew ever larger. We had planned on delivering the shoes sometime in May. However a series of events conspired to delay us. Two family members of the sisters’ group passed away (a mother and a mother-in-law), another sister’s 86 year old mother was involved in an auto accident and sustained serious injuries and the fourth sister’s husband had to have a pacemaker and defibrillator operation just prior to her bout with cancer.

In spite of those dark days, we continued to collect and count the shoes. Then, as we were planning our mid September deliver to Roanoke , AL , the gasoline crisis struck in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, and we were concerned about its availability. Nevertheless on September 20th, with fuel donations from two different churches and the guarantee from another to cover any shortfall, the early morning darkness found us heading to Roanoke in a borrowed tandem pickup truck hauling a horse trailer filled with 10,027 pairs of shoes. The combined efforts of four determined Sole Sisters, countless residents of Saluda County , SC (with a population of less than 19,000), two wonderful shoe merchants and the giving of three churches had finally paid off. What a wonderful feeling to arrive at the Soles4Souls warehouse, meet you and see what a great program you are administering.

Imagine the surprise of the three Sole Sisters, who were unable to make the journey to deliver the collected shoes, when we returned to Saluda bringing more shoes -- 210 pairs of (gospel) shoes.

Best Wishes,
Ann Forrest Watkins

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pie Footwear Collecting Shoes

Pie Footwear, the eco-conscious footwear and accessories store in Portland, OR has announced a year round partnership with Soles4souls. Starting in October, Pie will be providing in-store drop boxes for customers to bring in their new and gently worn shoes for donation.

Pie offers one-stop shopping for men's and women's dress and casual shoes made from organic cotton, hemp and recycled materials. Owners Stacey and J.C. Matney consider the shoes' materials and manufacturing as well as the company's commitment to socially conscious practices.

True to the triple-bottom-line tenets of sustainability, the venture is about more than money.

"I'm not going to save the world because I sell organic shoes," says J.C., and so the store minds its own footprint. That includes using some LED bulbs in its recessed lighting, purchasing renewable energy, completing the build-out with reclaimed materials and recently collecting and donating 350 pairs of used shoes to the Soles4Souls program.

Pie is located at 2916 NE Alberta St., Portland, OR. For more information visit http://www.piefootwear.net/.

High School Sole Project

"One pair at a time" is how a group of seniors at Davis High in Farmington, Utah are planning to collect 5,000 pairs of new or gently used shoes for Soles4Souls.

And with close to 1,300 pairs so far, Camille Robb and several of her friends, including Kim and Katie Beus are also hoping to reach their goal in the next few weeks. Robb said she was inspired to head up the project after viewing an episode of Rachael Ray in which Soles4Souls was discussed.

"I was watching the show, and she was talking about shoe fetishes women have, and talked about an organization that gives shoes. I was really interested, so I called and wanted to do a service project," she said.

In a flier her group has passed out to the community asking for help with the project, she uses several statistics provided by the organization, which she calls "frightening." The one she said shocked her most is that more than 300 million children around the world have never had a pair of shoes.

"This is what got me going. It was hard to believe because I have over 70 pair. So I wanted to share that blessing," Robb said, adding that same amount of footwear was thrown into American landfills last year alone.

Robb said in her flier the primary need for the shoes is to protect against potentially serious health care issues that result from not wearing shoes, such as scrapes, cuts, burns, and contamination.

Recent donations, including many types of shoes such as snow boots, sandals, work boots and children's shoes, stood lined up waiting to be boxed in Robb's parents' garage. Boxes already filled and sealed lined one wall, with a number in the upper right hand corner indicating how many pairs are inside. Elastics were put around each pair to keep mates together.

Robb said all footwear types are needed, but the greatest need is children's shoes, youth shoes, and athletic shoes of all sizes. But she said even women's dress shoes are needed for women's shelters or dress-for-success programs for women who need dress shoes to complete professional outfits for interviews or starting new jobs.

She said most children's shoes go to foreign countries such as Africa or India, but she was contacted by Soles4Souls recently and informed her shoes will be going to the Gulf Coast to help fill an immediate need for those residents whose homes were recently ravaged by Hurricane Ike.

"There are so many people hurting from the hurricane, so that is where these are going," Robb said.

Collection boxes will be available at local high schools, including: Woods Cross, Bountiful, Viewmont, Davis, Layton and Syracuse until Oct. 3, and most elementary schools in the Davis area.

"We wanted to get the elementary school kids involved, because younger kids are always so eager to help," Robb said.

Robb and the Beuses have also used their front porches as drop-off points, and Robb said one morning she woke up to three sacks of brand-new shoes on her front porch. Another neighbor recently gave her $350 to go buy as many shoes as they could.

Katie Beus said they have also had mornings where their front porch was filled.

"It was exciting. I get excited to see the shoes," she said.

Kim Beus said she has been amazed at all the support.

"Word spreads," she said.

A local trucking company has agreed to donate transportation for the shoes to a drop point for the organization in Las Vegas once all of the shoes have been collected, and a local packaging company donated the boxes.

In the end, though, Robb said the final number collected doesn't matter.

"It's the giving that counts. But when we hit 1,000 we could tell there was definite progress from the 10 pair we started with. I'll be excited with whatever we get, but I hope to reach my goal," she said.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Soles4Souls and Save Africa's Children Announce Partnership

A key component of the Soles4Souls mission is to give assistance to people living in abject poverty, such as Sub-Saharan Africa.

That's where the partnership with noteworthy charity Save Africa's Children (SAC) comes in.

SAC is an African-American founded organization that provides direct support to children affected by the worst possible living conditions: a runaway HIV/AIDS pandemic, abject poverty and civil war, which have combined to create an intolerable existence for millions of children. SAC has reached over 200,000 children in 21 African nations.

"We are joining with Save Africa's Children to reach as many African kids as possible," said Wayne Elsey, Founder and CEO of Soles4Souls. "Their reputation and programs are inspiring, and we are pleased to provide thousands of shoes to help support the fantastic work they are doing across the African continent," he said.

"Save Africa's Children has directed support to over 400 orphan care programs and Soles4Souls has proven success in distributing millions of shoes globally," said Bishop Charles E. Blake, Founder and CEO of Save Africa's Children. "In addition to ongoing care and support provided by Save Africa's Children, these children desperately need quality shoes. We are honored to partner with Soles4Souls to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in Africa."

Save Africa's Children is hosting the first annual Music Festival, Friday, September 26, 2008 at 7:00 PM, at West Angeles Cathedral (3600 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles, CA).

Guitar virtuoso Doc Powell will produce this spectacular star-studded music event, featuring Multiple GRAMMY(R) Award Winner Yolanda Adams, Host Jonathan Slocumb, Grammy and Stellar winner Kirk Whalum + 3 Generations of Whalums, Grammy winner Pieces of a Dream, world renown Jeff Bradshaw & Brass Heaven, Grammy nominated Guitarist Doc Powell, a Super All-Star Band, Celebrity Hosts and many Surprise Guests.

For tickets to the event, please call (866) 313-2722 for more details or visit www.saveafricaschildren.org . All proceeds will benefit orphan children in Africa with education, sanitation, water and free footwear.

"The gift of shoes is a simple yet effective way to help erase the stigma of poverty, stop puncture wounds, end scrapes and prevent burns to feet of the poor and destitute," said Elsey. "By partnering with Save Africa's Children and supplementing the wonderful services they provide, we can make a strong impact in the lives of thousands of kids," he said.

Soles4Souls has already set aside thousands of shoes for the project, but can use any donations to increase the effectiveness of the campaign. There are several ways people and companies can give assistance: footwear companies can donate new and excess inventory, retailers can host a shoe drive, and individuals can donate shoes or cash to help with shipping expenses.

For more information on Save Africa's Children and the First Annual Music Festival on Friday, September 26, visit www.saveafricaschildren.org.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fairmont Hotels to Donate Shoes

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts will be donating shoes to Soles4Souls. Shoes from Fairmont Fit, a program that offers members of Fairmont's President's Club access to Adidas athletic apparel for use during their stay, will get a second life with Soles4Souls.

As shoes slowly become worn in, and as seasonal changes of styles are provided by Adidas, hotels are left with items that are suitable for donating.

Guests and community members are also invited to drop off gently used athletic shoes at Fairmont locations across North America. The drive will begin some time in early January of next year. Stay tuned for more information.

Diocese Shoe Drive Under Way

The stage at the 2008 annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota, scheduled for October 24-25, 2008, will be larger than usual. Choir risers will be in place, but instead of singers, they will hold hundreds of boxes of donated new and slightly-used shoes that will be brought to the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester by 150 congregations and organizations.

The ingathering will be the culmination of a statewide shoe drive, the largest of its kind in Minnesota history, according to Wendy Johnson, the diocese's director of communications, who conceived the effort.

The diocese has partnered with Soles4Souls and it is anticipated that many of the shoes collected in Minnesota will go to aid victims of hurricanes Gustav and Ike in the Caribbean and southeastern United States.

Johnson said that a shoe drive was chosen because the diocese wanted to collect something "basic to our common life throughout the world, yet which receives very little focus."

"This is something that everyone can participate in, whether young or old and regardless of position or status," she said.

Special collection boxes were shipped to the congregations and organizations of the Diocese of Minnesota in late August. Johnson says that several congregations have requested additional boxes.

Only two weeks into the drive, St. Christopher's Episcopal Church in Roseville had four overflowing boxes and was making room for more.

Bishop Jelinek says the gathering of the shoes will create a "dramatic sight and be an expression of love very much in the character and spirit of the 150 years of mission of the Diocese of Minnesota."

"So often we are asking for items that a person would need to purchase. In this economy, this drive for shoes allows everyone in the congregation to participate," he said.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fitness Systems Teams with Soles4Souls

Curtis Horton of Fitness Systems in Mobile, AL admits that going barefoot stops you from doing many things.

"You couldn't work, you couldn't go play, we just went to the grandparents house to get shoes because we were going to the park" said Horton.

Yes, things would be pretty difficult without something on your feet. That is why they have decided to team up with Soles4Souls.

The goal at fitness systems is to collect 2,300 pairs of shoes by the end of October. If you live in the area, all you have to do is go through your closet and drop them off.

"The goal is to have slightly used shoes, maybe some you would give your family or maybe a brand new pair that you are not going to use," said Paul White, manager of the Fitness Systems Mobile store.

Not only will these shoes be delivered to disaster and poverty victims in the U.S., but also to 60 other countries around the world.

Fitness Systems has two locations in our area, Airport Boulevard in Mobile and on Bayou Boulevard Pensacola.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Shoes for a Cause

A West Michigan mom is giving back to a cause close to her son's heart. In honor of his spirit, Kathy Hoard will collect shoes for Soles4Souls.

The program hasn't even been officially kicked off, but already there is a bin full of donated shoes. Organizers are hoping that once more folks hear the story, they'll want to add to the pile.

Two years ago in November, Kathy Hoard's 12-year-old son's heart stopped working. No one can tell her how he died, but Kathy will tell folks how he lived.

"He just had a big heart, everybody liked him, we called him Harry" Kathy said, "He was just really focused on people that were less fortunate for him."

For his tenth birthday, Harry used his own money to buy a new pair of shoes for a less fortunate classmate. It was that generosity that inspired Kathy to bring Soles4Souls to West Michigan.

Kathy has teamed up with Gazelle Sports to collect as many pairs of shoes as possible.

"It's really about all of us stepping up and doing what you can," said Rob Lillie of Gazelle Sports.

"Everbody has shoes in their closet they're not using," said Kathy, "so I think it's a really neat way for everybody to remember Harry."

The shoes will go to folks in West Michigan, Lillie expects that they'll collect thousands in October alone.

"A lot of people only can give what they can give," Lillie said, "and this is an easy way to utilize things that you're finished with for a good cause."

That good cause has helped Kathy cope with a loss that no parent should have to experience.

"When you lose something, go through a tragedy such as losing a child you want something to pull you out of the grieving process and hopefully this is the beginning of something pretty cool," said Kathy.

Folks interested in donating can bring new or gently used shoes to Gazelle Sports locations in Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids and Holland.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Church Looking for a Few Good ‘Soles’

Thanksgiving might be more than two months away, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to give others something to be thankful for. Like shoes.

While many Americans might take for granted the numerous pairs of shoes they own, across the globe millions of children are believed to have never owned one pair.

In the United States, thousands have also been left homeless following hurricanes, tornadoes, fires and other disasters and have likewise lost all their possessions. And among those lost items, children and adults alike are left without even the simplest things –– shoes.

The Rev. James Lawson became aware of the issue while reading a Christian newsletter that featured Soles4Souls. Lawson said he believes getting his church, Pickering Christian Church in Maryville, MO involved would be a great undertaking that would benefit many.

"I wanted to know if we could accomplish something with this," Lawson said. "I don’t want this to replace or compete with the Red Cross or Maryville United Way, but I think this could add to it."

He and fellow church members agreed to hold a drive between now and Saturday, Nov. 22 to collect as many shoes as possible throughout the area. The shoes will then be blessed and donated to Soles4Souls for distribution.

Lawson said the date was chosen because it is the last weekend before Thanksgiving, a time when he hopes to give others a reason to be thankful.

"It excites me to be involved and I’m glad to see other people getting excited about it as well," Lawson said. "We’ve been overwhelmed with the response we’ve already had just from people who heard about it from word of mouth."

The shoes should be gently worn or new. He said all sizes and shoe types are accepted, including sandals, thongs and other similar items.

If others prefer to donate money to purchase shoes, checks could be made to the Pickering Christian Church with "Soles4Souls," noted as a memo. Donors are asked to tie or otherwise find a way to keep both shoes together to cut down on instances where one shoe is missing and must be searched for.

Shoes can be dropped off at the Pickering post office, 300 W. Fifth St. or Lawson’s house at 926 N. Main St. in Maryville. Shoes can also be picked up by calling Lawson at (660) 582-2618 or Greg Thompson at (660) 927-3796.

Meanwhile, Lawson said others from churches, organizations or just individuals themselves are more than welcome to join the effort to collect and donate shoes.

"This is something everyone can do. I’ve had employers tell me that if everyone just donated one pair of shoes, we could collect hundreds or even more," Lawson said.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

'Know What's Inside' to Collect Shoes for Those in Need

Staying comfortable and protected from the elements is what GORE-TEX and WINDSTOPPER products are created to do.

This year, while outdoor enthusiasts are invited to discover what makes GORE-TEX and WINDSTOPPER products so unique, the "Know What's Inside" Tour is collecting footwear for Soles4Souls to ensure people worldwide have the most basic protection: a pair of shoes.

Dedicated to outdoor protection, the GORE-TEX and WINDSTOPPER "Know What's Inside" Tour announces it has teamed up with Soles4Souls to ensure people around the world are protected against the elements.

Consumers are encouraged to clean out their closets of both new and gently worn shoes to donate to the "Know What's Inside" Tour. With nearly 1.5 billion pairs of shoes sitting idle in American closets the "Know What's Inside" Tour is set out to collect thousands of pairs of shoes; enough to fill the 6'x8'x10' Gore Extreme Weather Chamber. Shoes will be collected at numerous local events throughout the year.

Now in its third year, the "Know What's Inside" Tour invites visitors to step inside and personally test the GORE-TEX "guaranteed to keep you dry" promise by dialing up their own weather in the Extreme Weather Chamber. Participants can create a wide range of weather conditions including rainfall up to 22 inches per hour, whipping winds up to speeds of 32 miles per hour, bolts of thunder and strobes of lightening to simulate the actual look and feel of a storm.

Visitors can experience first hand the technology behind GORE-TEX and WINDSTOPPER products. This year's tour will make over 40 stops during its eight-month long cross-country adventure.

The "Know What's Inside" Tour will be featured at outdoor events, festivals, athletic events and local participating retail locations.

Marmi's Anniversary Celebration

Next Thursday, September 25th, Marmi Shoes in Nashville, TN will be celebrating their anniversary in style. During the event, Marmi is offering 10% off your entire purchase. The company is known for providing women with quality shoes that look and feel great.

Plus, from 5 to 8 pm, you can meet Nashville based recording artist Tiffany Johnson and receive her free CD, as well as a Marmi cosmetic bag with purchase. Appetizers and refreshments will also be available.

In addition, Marmi is supporting Soles4Souls so be sure to bring in your new or gently worn shoes. Marmi will also be donating 10% of their net sales for that day to Soles4souls! It will be a great way for you to help someone in need while getting a great pair of shoes at a low cost.

The store is located at the Mall at Green Hills in Nashville. For more information, call 615-292-6982.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Shoe Carnival Extends Shoe Drive to October 1

Shoe Carnival has announced that they will extend their exclusive fundraising opportunity with Soles4souls to October 1, 2008. All 300 Shoe Carnival store locations nationwide have collected shoes and will continue their efforts in support of the Hurricane Ike victims. For a small donation of $2.00, someone without shoes will receive a gift of shoes.

"As a family footwear retailer Shoe Carnival cares deeply about the communities and families left to rebuild after Hurricane Ike," said Todd Beurman, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Shoe Carnival. "When a disaster strikes close to home it's important for us to help in any way we can. By extending our partnership with Soles4Souls and focusing this extension on Hurricane Ike relief efforts we are helping to ensure that those affected communities and families are able to begin the rebuilding process."

To date, Soles4souls has sent 85,000 pairs of new shoes to aid in the Hurricane Ike relief efforts. They pledge to continue to fulfill the needs of all those who have been affected by the recent hurricanes.

Please visit www.giveshoes.org for a store near you.

Orscheln Farm and Home Announces Shoe Drive

Orscheln Farm & Home is hosting a shoe drive to benefit Soles4Souls.
During the shoe drive, Orscheln will be offering a coupon worth 20 percent off any one item in the store to all customers who bring in gently worn pairs of shoes toward the effort. The shoe drive will begin on Sept. 23 and will end on Sept. 28. This offer is valid in all Orscheln stores.

Orscheln has over 150 store locations in nine states in the Midwest.To find a store near you click here.

For more information on how you can get involved with this shoe drive and take advantage of the discount toward a new pair of shoes, contact Becky Honey at (800) 498-5090.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Youth Joins Cause to Help Save Soles

With a series of storms wreaking havoc on the Gulf Coast, one local student has been collecting shoes that could find their way to the victims of the storms.

Kamron Krieger, a senior at Dallastown Area High School, began collecting shoes for Soles4Souls in early September as part of his graduation project. He has set up collection boxes at the two Gold's Gym locations in York County.

"I hope to collect a box full at each place," Krieger said.

Kamron, 17, estimated that about 100 pairs of shoes had been dropped off so far. He's hoping to gather 500 pairs by the end of the September.

Kamron Krieger's collection boxes are set up inside two area Gold's Gym locations:
--- 298 Pauline Drive in York Township
--- 2340 North George St. in Manchester Township

The drive lasts until the end of September.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Soles4Souls in Celeb Life Magazine

Wayne Elsey, the founder of Soles4souls sat down with Merle Goldberg of Celeb Life to talk about where shoes have taken him.

CELEB LIFE: What is Soles4Souls?
WAYNE ELSEY: Soles4souls simply changes the world, one pair at a time, with the gift of shoes. We don't partner with any one religion, color or sex. Your need of shoes is our business. It's a call to action.

CL: How did you start such a focused organization?
WE: I saw a single shoe wash up on the shore during the (Asian) tsunami. It rocked my world. I started making phone calls. Six weeks later, we had 250,000 pairs of shoes. Then Katrina happened. I thought: If we did it for the people in Southeast Asia, why not here? I called shoe companies, and I was running a business at the time, so I was doing this between midnight and 6 a.m. We collected over 750,000 pairs of shoes, and within six to eight weeks we were shipping product down there.

CL: Where do the shoes go?
WE: Thirty-eight percent of our outreach is here in the United States. People are hurting in cities all over the country. Unfortunately, that population is growing because of what's happening with the economy. Barefoot week, which was the first week of June, we gave away 325,000 pairs of brand new shoes in five markets - Atlanta, Miami, Detroit, New Orleans, and Taylor, Arizona (Indian Reservation).
The other 62% is distributed around the world, especially Africa. Hookworm is a huge problem there. One pair of shoes can prevent hookworm. The need over there is great.

CL: Who has helped you spread the word?
WE: A little over a year ago, Scarlett Johansson publically donated several thousand pairs of shoes at a Nordstroms. They were Reeboks, which has the license for her product. We talked to Don Cheadle about Darfur. He donated product to us, which we shipped over there. Some of our major donors are companies like Timberland, New Balance, and Reebok.

CL: How can people donate, and where?
WE: Go to our website, www.giveshoes.org. Every 28 seconds all around the world, we give away a pair of shoes. But that's not good enough. Here's the CEO side of me: Our goal for 2009 is one pair every 14 seconds. We'll take Nikes, Adidas, or even $1 flip-flops.

CL: How many pairs of shoes do you have in your closet?
WE: Five! My closet use to hold 50. There are 1.5 billion pairs of shoes in closets across the U.S. How many pairs of shoes do you have in your closet?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Titans Star, Soles4Souls to host Shoe Drive Sept. 16

Chris Hope of the Tennessee Titans is teaming up with Shoe Carnival and Soles4Souls to provide a basic, yet indispensable gift that most of us take for granted: the gift of shoes.

Chris Hope and Shoe Carnival are hosting a shoe drive at the Shoe Carnival store adjacent to the Cool Springs Galleria Mall in Franklin, Tenn. (7085 Bakers Bridge Avenue) on Tuesday, Sept. 16 from 4-6 p.m. Hope will sign one autograph for each pair of new or “Gently worn” shoes that is donated to Soles4Souls or for a small donation of $2.

This autograph session is an opportunity to give back to the community for its support of the Shoe Carnival locations in the Nashville area. This event is also a part of the recently announced partnership and program between Soles4Souls and Shoe Carnival. For a small donation of $2, someone without shoes will receive a gift of shoes.

In addition, those who donate new or gently worn shoes will receive a $5 Shoe Carnival coupon. The program is currently running in all 300 Shoe Carnival store locations and will end Sept. 24.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Shoe Carnival, Soles4Souls Team up to Help Needy

Here is a recent article in the Evansville Business Journal highlighting the partnership between Shoe Carnival and Soles4Souls to raise money and receive footwear for hurricane victims:

After learning of the destruction inflicted by the tsunami that struck Southeast Asia in 2004, a thought entered Wayne Elsey’s head:

Many of the victims probably don’t have shoes.

It was that consideration that led Elsey, who had worked for years selling shoes wholesale, to found Soles4Souls that same year. Since then the charity, based in Nashville, Tenn., has given away 3.4 million pairs of shoes to the needy.

Elsey came to Evansville today to promote a campaign begun with Shoe Carnival. In it, customers can give a needy child a pair of shoes by giving $2 to any of Shoe Carnival’s 300 stores.

In return, customers’ names will be written on small pieces of paper (pictured above), cut to look like shoes, and attached to the stores’ window. Soles4Souls will use the $2 donation to buy the shoes it distributes in 35 U.S. states and 50 countries. The models include flip flops, tennis shoes and imitations of the popular Crocs brand.

Customers can also give away used pairs of shoes. In return, they will receive a $5 coupon which can be redeemed at Shoe Carnival stores.

Elsey said Soles4Souls gives away a pair of shoes every 23 seconds. The victims of Hurricane Katrina are among those who have been much benefited by Soles4Souls’ campaigns.

“We are still working down there,” he said. “There are still a lot of people hurting down there.”
Todd Beurman, Shoe Carnival senior vice president of marketing, said the campaign began Sept. 3 and will last until Sept. 24. The goal, he said, is to raise $140,000.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Young Students Get New Kicks

Some kids in Tulsa, OK received a free pair of shoes last Friday. As seen on Newson6.com, Soles4Souls teamed up with The Community Action Project and Shoe Carnival to hand out 150 pairs of shoes at Skelly Early Childhood Education Center.

Soles4Souls has a lot motivation to organize these kinds of give-aways.

"There is 300 million children in the world without shoes, yet there is 1.5 billion pairs in Americans closets that aren't even worn," said Soles4Souls Executive Vice President David Graben.

For every $2 donation at Shoe Carnival someone will get a pair of shoes. And, if you donate a new or gently worn pair, Shoe Carnival will give you a coupon for $5 off a new pair.

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

Monday, September 08, 2008

Hush Puppies Partners with Soles4Souls

Hush Puppies continues to celebrate their "50 years of Casual Style" by partnering with Soles4Souls for several multi-store events.

During the month of September, Hush Puppies and Soles4Souls will team up with local Hush Puppies retailers on September 13, 20 and 27 in the cities of Hartford, CT, Boston, MA and Portland, OR for a charity footwear drive.

For three consecutive weekends, customers in each chosen city will have the opportunity to donate their gently-worn shoes to those in need while enjoying a number of in-store events and promotions at the various retailers.

FootPrints in Hartford, CT will kick off the first drive on September 13th, followed the next weekend by Michelson's in Boston, MA on September 20th. The drive concludes with Imelda's in Portland, OR on September 27th. All three locations will be partnering with a local pet adoption agency.

For the Portland drive, Hush Puppies and Soles4Souls will partner with Best Friends Animal Society. Best Friends runs the nation's largest sanctuary for abused and abandoned animals.

Best Friends works with their members and with humane groups, individuals and entire communities -- to set up spay/neuter, shelter, foster and adoption programs in neighborhoods, cities, and states around the country. The pet adoption partners for the Hartford and Boston events are yet to be determined.

"Hush Puppies wants to say 'thank you' to our loyal consumers during this special birthday year, and reach out to as many people as possible," says Mark Neal, global president, Hush Puppies. "This nationwide and global initiative with Soles4Souls is our way to touch thousands of people's lives who are less fortunate. The impact that this organization has already made is astounding. We are honored to have Soles4Souls as our partner."

Soles4Souls Credit Card

Soles4Souls and CardPartner Inc. announced the availability of a Soles4Souls Platinum Visa credit card. For every card activated, Soles4Souls receives $50, plus a percentage of every dollar charged. Funds will help provide free footwear to those in desperate need both in the US and around the world.

For cardholders, the Soles4Souls Platinum Visa credit card is highly competitive: No annual fee and 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 6 months. There is also Enhanced Visa Platinum benefits, including 24/7 Emergency Customer Service and 100% Fraud Protection and Purchase security.

"CardPartner is proud to be working with Soles4Souls to offer a Visa card that funds the gift of shoes for those who deserve the help. By using the card for normal purchases like gas and groceries, Soles4Souls' supporters can make a difference everyday," says Doug Davis, Senior Director of Sales & Marketing at CardPartner.

Those who support Soles4Souls and all others can visit http://www.soles4souls.org/ to learn more about the card's features, apply for a card, choose one of the custom card designs featuring Soles4Souls artwork, contact cardholder service, read cards and conditions of card membership, and more.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Dash in Dodge City

Our good friend Dash Alsup was recently in the Dodge Globe in Dodge City, KS:

Earlier this year, Dashiel Alsup decided to step away from everyday life for a while.

The 19-year-old man from Coaldale, Colo., decided he was getting bogged down in his daily routine and needed a change. He later decided that the best way to do that was to embark on a cross-country tour of the United States — on foot.

"It's the kind of thing where you can think about it for years and not do it," he said. "I just was at a point where I just had to say, 'Yes, I'm going to do it, that's all it's going to take,' and get myself out the door."

Alsup has been on the road since early May, and his journey brought him to Dodge City on Thursday. He planned to spend the night in this area, then take off again today.

Alsup's journey began in late April, when he took an Amtrak train from Colorado to Tacoma, Wash., where he has relatives. His journey officially began May 2 in Ocean Shores, Wash., about 100 miles from Tacoma, and he hopes to reach Florida by late November or early December.

He spent the first two weeks of his trip walking across Washington state before crossing into Oregon, and he has since passed through Idaho, corners of Utah, Wyoming and Colorado. He took a three-week break when he reached Coaldale — partly to relax before hitting the road again, and partly because his best friend was getting married.

He said it was a relief to get back to his hometown for a short time.

"I was to the point where I was feeling pretty drained, both physically and emotionally," he said. "Just to get home and be able to rest up — right away, I felt like everything was back to normal."

Alsup has been on foot for nearly the entire time, except for the rare occasions when bad weather forces him to accept a ride from someone. When that happens, he retraces that portion of his route on foot the next day if possible.

He said he is traveling barefoot as much as possible — partly to make the trip more interesting, and partly to avoid wearing out several pairs of shoes. He estimated that he walked barefoot about 60 percent of the time.

He pitches his small tent at night wherever he decides to sleep, and he carries Ramen noodles and granola bars for snacks in his backpack. He supplements those items with muffins, other easy-to-eat foods and occasional restaurant meals.

About once a week, he visits a library or an Internet cafe to update his blog, asinglepebble.blogspot.com, which mixes a journal of his travels with philosophical reflections.

But Alsup is doing more than just breaking away from his everyday life. He's also promoting Soles4Souls, a charity that donates shoes to needy people around the world.

Alsup said he chose Soles4Soules as his charity because it was based entirely on helping people who need shoes.

"It's such a simple thing, shoes, but it's a great help," he said.

He said he originally considered raising money for the charity but decided to promote it instead.

Alsup has traveled about 1,900 miles so far, and he expects to cover between 3,500 and 3,600 miles by the time he arrives in Florida. He chose Florida in part because he wanted to cross the United States diagonally, and partly because he wanted to avoid harsh winter weather.

"Part of it is because I started late spring-ish, so it's going to be winter by the time I end it," he said. "If I stayed north, I would have been going through Chicago and stuff, and that didn't sound very good."

He had not yet decided where he will end his travels in Florida.

Alsup said he was enjoying his trek across the United States, but he acknowledged that sometimes he feels discouraged and lonely. But that's when the romance of the road comes to his rescue.

"That definitely keeps me going," he said. "When I feel really down and lonely, I say, 'Wait a minute. I'm going to walk across America. I'm going to meet people, and I'm doing that. And this is the start of the rest of my life.'"

Shoes Set to be Sent to Hurricane Victims

Workers and volunteers of Soles4Souls are stockpiling shoes to be ready for delivery to victims of the upcoming hurricanes. There are three trucks ready to roll out to the affected areas.

Hurricane Hanna has already caused more than 60 deaths and massive flooding in Haiti, and weather forecasters anticipate the storm will roll into Southeastern U.S. by late Friday or early Saturday.

CNN reported that Hurricane Gustav killed 79 people in Haiti last week.

"We are hoping that Hanna will slow down or move away from the U.S. mainland, but in case it moves ashore we have to be ready with shoe donations so people can rebuild their communities," said Wayne Elsey, Founder and CEO of Soles4Souls Inc. "We are especially keeping a wary eye on Hurricane Ike, which forecasters are calling a 'monster' storm. We believe it's important to give aid to the poor people in the Caribbean as well as Americans affected by these hurricanes," he said.

Hurricane Ike is currently a Category 4 Hurricane and is expected to hit the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands before taking aim at Florida or the Carolinas by early next week, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Elsey said that they have readied 50,000 pairs of shoes so far and are looking for footwear companies and retailers to donate excess inventory or returns so that they will have enough for the demand.

Those interested in giving shoes or donating cash to benefit victims of the hurricanes can join Soles4Souls by visiting http://www.giveshoes.org or calling 615-391-5723.

"We hope that we won't have to donate all the shoes in our inventory, but we need to be ready for whatever comes," Elsey said. "Along with other emergency supplies, a pair of new shoes or boots goes a long way to helping people get back on their feet and piece their lives back together. We need all our partners and donors to join us in our mission to help those affected by these storms," he said.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Church Collects 800 Pair

Grace Capitol Church in Pembroke, NH had a Sunday of servitude for those less fortunate. Pastor Peter Bonanno spoke on being content and living with less so others could live with some.

At the end of the service, Pastor Bonanno challenged the congregation to leave their shoes as a symbol of their willingness to be content. The result was over 800 pairs of shoes that were left to be donated to Soles4Souls.

Soles4Souls would like to thank the good people of Grace Capitol Church for their generous donation. We know that people tend to wear their "Sunday best" to church and we appreciate the sacrifice and their willingness to help those in need.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Proud Volunteers from Sudan

Three Sudanese students have been eagerly helping Soles4Souls 'change the world one pair at a time' by donating a little time at the Roanoke, AL distribution center.

Stephen Dokolo, Bullen Timo and Andrew Elispana are in United States to further their education at Southern Union State Community College in Wadley, Alabama. Four Corners Ministry put the students through high school in Uganda, where the students earned their diplomas, allowing them to be approved for admission into Southern Union.

Paul Wilson, the President of World Outreach Division at Soles4Souls, first met Bullen, Andrew and Stephen in 2005 when he traveled to Sudan to distribute shoes to the needy.

"I am appreciative of Soles4Souls, it is so hot and the ground burns our feet," stated Stephen. "The closest thing I compare it to for Americans, it is like having a new set of tires for your car."

The three students have just completed their first week of school and are now volunteering some time in the warehouse as a way to give back for the generosity shown to them through Soles4Souls.

"In Sudan we could not get a pair of shoes even if we had money," said Bullen. "These shoes are life changing. They protect our feet from infection and injury."

The students have been helping to sort, pack and ship donated shoes, many that will end up in Sudan. Andrew Elispana hopes that he can help those in his home country.

"I so much want to share my appreciation for how I have been helped with the gift of shoes so it is with great joy I can work with Soles4Souls here," he said.