Friday, October 31, 2008

NFL Safety Chris Hope Visits School to Congratulate Students

Last Monday night on the national stage, NFL All-Pro Safety Chris Hope had the game of his dreams. After weeks of waiting for that first interception of the season, Chris doubled his dreams by having the first “two-interception” game of his career, facing off against Peyton Manning in the seventh Titans win of the season, a 31-21 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

The next morning, instead of celebrating the team’s 7-0 success, Chris was at Page High School in Franklin, Tennessee, to congratulate the students on their fundraising achievements for Soles4Souls. As a Soles4Souls Spokesperson, Chris attended their “Barefoot Day”, a pep rally where the students assembled on the football field after leaving their “gently used” shoes on the field as a donation to the charity.

The excitement of Chris attending the pep rally was overwhelming as the students passed by him to donate their shoes. Once students were assembled on the bleachers, Chris took the microphone, asking how many of them had watched the game the night before. The stands erupted in cheers and high fives. Chris then talked about the Soles4Souls mission and reiterated that there are 300 million children in the world who have never owned a pair of shoes, while almost the same number of shoes are tossed into American landfills each year.

Chris thanked the students for their support of the non-profit and praised them for taking their time to help the needy in our community. He ended his talk by asking the students to give their best “Go Titans” cheer on his count of three. The roar was deafening, earning the students a winning “Chris Hope” smile that rivaled the smile on his face following his Monday night interceptions.

The Soles4Souls “Barefoot Day” culminated a month-long series of events and programs hosted by DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) at Page High school to raise funds for and bring awareness to those in need. The Soles4Souls program provides an innovative alternative to traditional fundraisers, so students are able to raise money for their school group while making a significant difference in the lives of others.

Chris Hope, in addition to donating his time and support to Soles4Souls, donates $100.00 for each tackle and he uses his weekly Monday night radio show on 106.7, The Fan, an ESPN affiliate, to promote the cause. He recently donated $8,000.00 to Soles4Souls for his success on the field for the 2007 season. The 2008 season already looks to be a good one for the charity and for the Titans.

Man in Philippines to Receive Running Shoes

People all over the world take up jogging for the same reasons - to look fit, maintain proper weight and to feel healthy. Joseph Soledad of the Philippines began running five years ago for similar reasons. In the early days, he just wanted his weight and blood pressure to get back to normal but he soon found other benefits of running.

“I run for the joy and I love it now,” says Joseph. “I’m proud to say that it made me a better and healthier person. I will probably run for the rest of my life.”

Joseph’s biggest obstacle is keeping a pair of proper athletic shoes on his feet. With a meager salary, Joseph would not deny his family basic necessities for a pair of expensive running shoes. Embarrassed, he would run early in the morning so others would not see the duct tape on his old sneakers. Then he read about Soles4Souls in Runner’s World.

Fearing that his old sneakers would fall apart at his first race, Joseph decided to write to Soles4Souls and ask for a pair of used running shoes in size 10.5. Paul Wilson, president of the World Outreach Division, received his request and immediately sent him several pairs of shoes, including new pairs of New Balance before his big race on November 15th.

“Joseph is the reason why we got in the business of giving away shoes,” stated Wilson. “We wish him luck and congratulate him on running in the New Balance Power Race in Philippines.”

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Barefoot Walker reaches Missouri

Dashiel Alsup, 19, of Coaldale, Colo., recently took a short break from walking across the country barefoot to spend some time with his grandparents in Kennett, Missouri.

Alsup is making the trek in an effort to raise awareness for Soles4Souls. Alsup left Ocean Shores, Wash., on May 2. About 2,600 miles later, he stopped by the house of Orville and Sybil Alsup for a week-long break. He is traveling to Jacksonville, Fla.

Alsup said he is averaging 20 to 25 miles per day. He uses mile markers to keep track of his progress.

"I stick to the main highways," Alsup said. "A lot of people try to give me rides."

Alsup also keeps a blog of his journey at and updates it every five to seven days.

"I had some time and wasn’t sure if I was ready to go to college, so I decided to make the trip," he said. "Then I started looking for a cause to help and I ran across Soles4Souls. It just made sense."

While Alsup isn’t making the entire trip barefoot, he did say about 70 percent of the trip has been barefoot. He rubs Vaseline on his feet to keep them from taking too much damage.

"There are places I simply can’t go barefoot, like construction zones, really rough patches and such, so I’ve been using flip-flops for those places," Alsup said. "As long as I can make the majority of the trip barefoot I’ll be satisfied."

When Alsup leaves Kennett, his next stop will be in Nashville, Tenn. He will be visiting a friend of his father, as well as the Soles4Souls headquarters.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Virginia Tech Runners Make Strides off the Track

The Virginia Tech men's and women's cross country and track and field teams were out doing their part this weekend by collecting donations in the form of gently-worn sneakers.

The shoes, collected for Soles4Souls, will be put on the feet of people in need, around the U.S. and in developing countries.

"We've been doing these shoe donations for a few years now," redshirt senior cross-country runner Jessica Fanning said. "It's just a way to give back."

Standing outside on the corner of Washington and Spring Street from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this past Saturday, the teams collected two large cardboard boxes full of shoes for Soles4Souls.

"The whole team has been out here," said sophomore and cross-country runner Matt Saunders. "We've been coming out in shifts in order to break it up."

The team took it upon themselves to spread word about the event.

"We made a Facebook group and basically just used word-of-mouth to get people to come out," sophomore pole-vaulter Hunter Hall said.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Scouts Collect Shoes for Needy

Jordan Linder has to stop and think how many pairs of shoes she owns.

“Probably 15,” said Jordan, a middle school student in Rehobeth, Alabama. “There are a lot of shoes in my closet.”
Today, there are less, as Jordan is a member of the Westgate Church of Christ Youth Group that helped collect, sort and box up nearly a thousand pairs of shoes for Soles4Souls. Melanie is member of Girl Scout Troop #356 that took on the shoe collection as a service project, aided by the church.

“This whole thing makes you feel useful,” said Melanie, who attends Emmanuel Christian School. Girl Scout Whitney Davidson helped sort and bind 910 pairs of matching shoes Sunday afternoon at the church. Pink flip-flops. Brown, suede boots. Rugged sandals. Navy slip-ons.

“We’re helping homeless people get shoes and people who don’t have anything after a hurricane hits,” said Whitney, 14.

Whitney’s mother, troop leader Ruthie Davidson, selected the project for the Scouts after finding a Soles4Souls link on the Goodwill Web site.

“We were called right after the hurricane (Ike) hit Galveston,” Davidson said. “They wanted to know if we had our shoes ready but we had just started collecting them in September.”

As about 40 youth sorted and stacked shoes, Westgate Church of Christ Youth Minister Jovan Barrington said the youth learned a valuable lesson through the project.

“It taught them that what we consider rubbish can be so valuable to someone else,” Barrington said. “They found shoes that were buried in their closets or in a bag and donated them. It was an opportunity to put someone else first. God wants us to be resourceful.”

Davidson’s employer, U.S. Business Products, is paying to have the shoes shipped to a Soles4Souls distribution center in Roanoke in eastern Alabama. The shoes will be distributed to the underprivileged, women’s shelters and those recouping from a major disaster.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wabasha Church joins effort to collect 35,000 pairs of shoes

Each pair of donated shoes has a story to tell.

The red canvas high-tops still have the price tag attached, recently plucked off a nearby store shelf. The pair of gray and blue Nikes with a few scuffs on the side. The pink, Disney-themed tennis shoes with pictures of Cinderella on the sides have likely been outgrown by the child who once wore them, the Rev. Roger Claxton supposes.

Claxton proves less sure about the history of a pair of white women's dress shoes, but he imagines a bright future. These could make some young girls day, just that unexpected something, said the pastor of Wabasha Grace Memorial Episcopal Church.

The Wabasha donations serve as a local example in a statewide effort. Episcopal congregations across Minnesota have collected footwear for Soles4Souls.

Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota officials organized the effort as a way to celebrate 150 years of the church in the state, with a goal of providing thousands of unexpected somethings to those in need worldwide.

The 100-member congregation of Grace Memorial collected about 65 pairs of new or gently worn shoes since early September. Bags of shoes would just show up in the collection box, Claxton said. Pretty soon, it was getting full, he said. It was really impressive to see.

Organizers estimate more than 35,000 shoes will be collected statewide, and Johnson said many of them will be displayed during the two-day convention in Rochester, Minn. After the convention, the shoes will be packed into a semitrailer provided by Soles4Souls.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Florida Student Collecting Soles

Andrea Diez-de-Onate a senior at Archbishop McCarthy High School in Fort Lauderdale FL, is searching for shoes to help those less fortunate.

Over the summer volunteer CCD teacher Diez-de-Onate was trying to find just the right service project for her CCD students. She came across the Soles4Souls website and couldn't believe what she read.

“My inspiration to do the shoe drive came when I read the staggering statistics of how many men, women and children worldwide go barefoot," she said. "We all take for granted the shoes we have in our closets. One pair of shoes can also save a person from disease and helps keep them warm."

Diez-de-Onate presented and received approval for the service project from St. Mark Catholic School CCD Director Susan Miklosak. She created and distributed flyers to the 1,000 CCD students the first week of October and to date she has received over 800 pairs of shoes.

“I started storing them in my parents’ garage, but that was getting a little crowded, so I called Pines West Storage Center and they donated a space for me to keep the shoes until we are ready to ship them to Soles4Souls in Alabama,” Diez-de-Onate said.

Diez-de-Onate has a goal of collecting a minimum of 1,000 pairs of shoes by… All Souls Day November 2nd.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Orphanage in Honduras Receives Footwear

In 1989, David & Lydia Martinez felt a calling to provide for abandoned and unwanted children. They sold everything they owned and moved to Honduras where they founded Orphanage Emmanuel.

Emmanuel started as a single building with no electricity or running water. In the first year, they took care of 5 children. Today, they serve over 400 children with complete ongoing daily care. That's a lot of feet.

To help with the growing need for footwear at Emmanuel, Soles4Souls sent a container of athletic shoes, military boots and sandals (along with food and other supplies) to the Orphanage. The footwear was provided by Bates, Justin Boots and Grendha Shoes, among others.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Soles4Souls to Launch Holiday Charity Shoe Drive

Soles4Souls announced plans to partner with Opry Mills, a Nashville mall, to host a holiday shoe drive that will create the "World's Largest Tower of Shoes."

The drive will begin Nov. 5 and culminate on New Year's Eve. Throughout the holidays, shoppers can check the progress of the drive via clear panels installed in the Tower's sides. The idea for the project was inspired by a letter Soles4Souls received earlier this year from a young boy, Joseph Wells, who held his own shoe drive last year.

Both Soles4Souls and Opry Mills are asking locals and visitors to come to the mall during the holidays to help those in need around the world. Donors can contribute a pair of new or gently worn shoes, and in turn receive a discount incentive on new merchandise at participating stores. Each store will collect the shoes and each week they will be added to the tower.

In addition, merchants will offer the Soles4Souls "2-6-10: It's Good for the Sole" program. It offers a $2 cash donation for one pair of new shoes; $6 will purchase three pairs of new shoes; and a $10 donation will provide five pairs for those in need.

"This is a creative and effective way for us to spread the message of our organization," said Soles4Souls founder Wayne Elsey. "The amount of support we've received from local businesses and individuals has been incredible, and with their help, we are looking forward to breaking the world record for the most shoes in a single event."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Step Up Belmont - Saturday, Oct 18th

Soles4Souls Announces "Step Up Belmont"

Soles4Souls will be hosting a charity concert this Saturday, October 18th at Belmont University. "Step Up Belmont" will begin at 7 p.m. in the Curb Event Center and last until around 8:30.

The concert is open to the general public. In fact, admission is free with a donation of a pair of new or "gently" worn shoes! Tickets will be given on a first come basis.

Musical artists Joshua Eric Wright, Blake Belford, Stephen Whitfield, Hana Wishy & Special Guest Todd Agnew will all perform during the evening. The event will be MC’d by Soles4Souls’ Spokesperson, Tiffany Johnson & CEO & Founder, Wayne Elsey.

The Curb Event Center at Belmont University is located on 2002 Belmont Boulevard in Nashville, TN. For more information, call the ticket office at (615) 460-8500.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

FCCLA Shoe Drive

FCCLA members (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) in Tennessee are involved in several fundraising activities including one for Soles4Souls.

The collection will take place during the end of October. A large box will be placed in Kroger on Highway 96 East for new or gently used shoes to donate to Soles4Souls.

Students will also be accepting $5 and $10 monetary donations during the month to purchase shoes for disaster victims around the world.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Esmond Shoe Drive

Esmond's Shoes in Richmond, Indiana will host a shoe drive to benefit Soles4Souls. Esmond's is celebrating 60 years as a full service shoe store dedicated to serving customers with fashion and fit for the entire family.

Esmond's will offer a 15 percent discount to all customers who bring in gently worn pairs of shoes during the drive, which starts Monday, Oct. 13 and runs through Oct. 18 at the store, 17 S. Eighth St.

"We have a storewide sale once a year," said Rodger Sieb, owner of Esmond's Shoes. "With natural disasters happening all around the world, we're excited to host a promotion this year that will assist Souls4Soles in reaching their goals."

For more information, call (765) 962-1262.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Basketball Team to Collect Soles

Athletes know a thing or two about the importance of good shoes regardless of the game or the playing surface. They also know that the lack of shoes — on or off the court — can make life difficult and dangerous.

To combat that trend worldwide, the Flying Queens basketball team at Wayland Baptist University in San Antonio, TX is partnering with the Soles4Souls organization to collect funds or shoes to be distributed to needy persons on the other side of the globe.

For the next three weeks, team members will be soliciting donations and will have drop boxes located in town for donations to be made of new or very gently used shoes of any size and style. Funds given will be used to purchase shoes at a discount rate to be sent overseas.

While Soles4Souls distributes shoes worldwide in 60 countries on five continents, including the United States, Wayland chose to direct their efforts to Kenya since there is already a connection to that nation through the degree program in religion.

“This is a great opportunity for us to be able to give back and support individuals that are less fortunate than we are,” said Tory Bryant, the women's head coach of the Flying Queens. “Our players and staff have been given a great opportunity to coach and play at Wayland, and this is one way we can give of our time to help others. This is about us blessing others and in turn we may be blessed as well.”

Participation in the Soles4Souls drive through the Flying Queens is possible in two ways: Interested persons may donate funds that can assist in the purchase or shipment of shoes to needy people in Kenya or they may donate new or gently used shoes to the drop boxes.

The boxes will be located on the WBU campus in the McClung Center foyer, in the Student Ministries Activity Center and the Laney Student Activities Center as well as in Plainview at United Supermarket on Olton Road, Hale County State Bank, First Assembly of God, American State Bank, Wells Fargo Bank and Happy Union Baptist Church.

The charity drive is mutually beneficial as Soles4Souls donates a small portion of the money raised by the Flying Queens team back into the basketball program as thanks for their fund-raising efforts. Those funds will be used to help the team with program expenses.

For more information, contact Bryant at 291-1145.

Takken's Shoes Grand Opening Oct 11th in Pleasanton benefits Soles4Souls

Takken's Shoes wants them all.

During its store grand opening event on Oct. 11 in the Stoneridge Mall in Pleasanton CA, Takken's Shoes is kicking off its effort to collect gently-used footwear or monetary donations to support Soles4Souls.

Takken's Shoes, with 26 stores throughout California, is adopting Soles4Souls as its charity because it answers the fundamental need of having shoes to wear for health and safety concerns.
During Takken's Shoes grand opening event, customers can bring in their gently-used shoes to donate to Soles4Souls, and recieve 10 percent off a new pair. Visitors can also bring in monetary donations during the event. Shoes will continue to be accepted throughout October.

"We want to be able to serve the local and global community the best way we know how," said Cris Takken, CEO of Takken's Shoes. "Most of us buy shoes for style or interest. But sometimes society forgets that shoes are a part of our basic health and safety needs. Sharing the shoes we don't use anymore is one way to help each other."

At the grand opening event, Takken's Shoes will have UGGS, Dansko and ECCO representatives on hand to help with fittings and to give away a pair shoes each hour between noon and 8 p.m. Purchase isn't necessary to enter.
For more information about Takken's Shoes, visit

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

ABAC on the Square Sponsors Project to Collect Shoes

To celebrate ABAC on the Square’s 10th birthday and the 100th birthday of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, ABAC on the Square is sponsoring a service project to benefit Soles4Souls.

The ABAC on the Square Leadership Society is sponsoring this drive and hopes to involve the entire community in Moultrie, GA in reaching out to victims of disaster and poverty at home and abroad.

ABAC on the Square Director Kay Powell said the Soles4Souls drive will take place from Oct. 20 to 31. Shoes can be dropped at ABAC on the Square Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day or placed in collection boxes around the county. Shoes should be held together with a rubber band or by tying the laces together.

A send-off celebration will take place at ABAC on the Square Nov. 6 at 9 a.m. The shoes will be taken to the national distribution center in Roanoke, Ala., for worldwide distribution.

For more information, contact ABAC on the Square at (229) 891-7235.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Allen Edmonds Shoe Drive

Allen Edmonds announced that they will be hosting a shoe drive at Allen Edmonds Outlet Stores nation-wide to benefit Soles4Souls.

During the shoe drive, Allen Edmonds Outlet Stores will be offering a whopping $35 discount on a new pair of shoes to all customers who bring in gently worn pairs of shoes toward the effort! The shoe drive began last Thursday, Oct. 2 and will end on Monday, Oct. 13.

"We are honored to partner with Soles4Souls to support its mission to donate footwear to those in need," said Steve Grimm, Director of Retail Operations of Allen Edmonds Shoe Corporation. "It is a simple way to make a difference in the lives of many."

"We are excited that Allen Edmonds is working with us 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 Allen Edmonds, that we are able to accomplish our goal of getting shoes on the feet of people who need them most," he said.

For more information on how you can get involved with this shoe drive, take advantage of the discount toward a new pair of shoes, and locate a list of participating stores, visit

Friday, October 03, 2008

Total Relief Footwear Collecting Shoes Year Round

Total Relief Footwear, the company that features footwear solutions for pain relief, exercise, and customized comfort, is now established as a year-round collection site for Soles4Souls. To date, they have already collected over 2,000 pair!

You can donate your new or gently worn shoes, outgrown kid's shoes and your used work boots at The Woodland Shopping Center, 13492 US Hwy 183 North, Suite 250 in Austin, TX.

Over 85,000 pairs of brand new, unworn shoes have already been distributed to shelters and hurricane relief centers in coastal Texas and Louisiana. A new pair of shoes can go a long way to restore hope for people that have nothing.

Also, the next time you buy work boots, donate your old pair to Total Relief. It will keep them from going into the landfill, and you will greatly improve someone's life. If you decide to buy a pair of COFRA work boots, Total Relief will give $20.00 off the purchase price!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Under the Bridge Recap

On Tuesday evening, hundreds of homeless and those less fortunate in the Nashville area arrived under the Jefferson Street Bridge to receive food, clothing, shoes and other supplies.

Soles4Souls was on hand to distribute footwear to each person in line. The Bridge Ministry started in 2004 out of a desire to reach those hurting in Nashville and surrounding areas.

Folks were also treated to an inspiring message and performance by Amy Grant and Vince Gill.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Attention all shoe lovers, critics and writers: Soles4Souls, the international shoe charity, needs YOUR help! Just 3 minutes of your time will equal 3 pairs of shoes for kids in need.

How is this possible? Our friends at are always on the lookout for simple, well-written reviews on products from toasters to cars. Shoe reviews make their website better and gives honest feedback to consumers looking to buy their next pair of sneakers, work boots, fashionable pumps and comfy flip-flops.

Epinions is looking for anyone to write a paragraph or two on your favorite (or least favorite) pair of shoes in your closet. As an incentive, they will donate $5 for EACH REVIEW to Soles4Souls. That equals about 3 pairs of shoes for 3 minutes of work!

To get started, visit and sign up to become a member (it’s fast and free). Then write some reviews about your pairs of shoes (and if it's a bad review, you can always donate them to Soles4Souls). But please, don't wait too long -- this promotion will end on December 31st.

So break out your critiquing skills and start writing...some bare soles will thank you for it.

Remember, 3 Minutes = 3 Pairs.

If you have any questions about this promotion, please email or visit for details.

Soles4Souls and First Baptist Church of Orlando to Distribute 30,000 Pair

Soles4Souls plans to partner with First Baptist Church of Orlando to distribute 30,000 pairs of sandals to needy people in the greater Orlando, Florida area.

The distribution is a key component of Fusion 2008, held on the weekend of October 3-5. The event brings local churches together to participate in community services to demonstrate God's love through meeting needs.

"We are thrilled to be able to donate to First Baptist Church of Orlando so they can reach out to needy people in their community," said Wayne Elsey, Soles4Souls Founder and CEO. "The church has a long history of serving people in their community through acts of love and kindness, and we're happy that these sandals will go to people who need them most," he said.

Church staff member John Helton is heading up First Orlando's distribution efforts during Fusion 2008.

"We're teaming up with Soles4Souls in several ways first of all, on Saturday, October 4 at the Student Center, we'll be distributing shoes to those who come to us," he said.

News releases to various ministries within a 600-mile radius of Orlando will inform the needy of the shoe distribution. First Orlando is also partnering with Coalition for the Homeless and the Orlando Union Rescue Mission, which will also be given shoes to distribute.

On October 4, the addresses of the distribution centers are:
Orlando Union Rescue Mission
Donation Center
3250 Old Winter Garden Rd.
Orlando, FL 32805

Coalition for the Homeless
639 W Central Blvd
Orlando, FL 32801

First Baptist Church of Orlando
Student Center
3000 South John Young Parkway
Orlando, Florida 32805

The two Saturday distributions will run from 10am to 2pm, and on October 4 several speakers are scheduled during the event, including Wayne Elsey. The press conference will start at 11:00 am until 12:00 pm. Helton said that he needed more volunteers to help give away sandals, among other things.

"For October 4, I need people to carry boxes of shoes, open them up and put them out on tables," he said. "I also need people to sit at the tables and give out shoes as well as people for crowd control and to help out with parking. I have plenty of things for you to do."