Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thy Brothers' Helper

The Harrisonburg High School Key Club in Harrisonburg, VA won the first Youth In Philanthropy Award, which recognizes service by youths through age 18 who demonstrate outstanding commitment to the community through leadership.

The group, which has about 40 core members, has been working on a shoe drive this year to benefit Soles4Souls.

Members are collecting gently worn shoes to be shipped both domestically and internationally, and they've got around 400 pairs of shoes already collected, said Tony Antonnicola, the group's adviser. The group's goal is 1,000 pairs by the end of the year.

Last year, the club was recognized as the world's second-ranking Key Club in raising funds for UNICEF.

"This is definitely an honor," said Rupal Patel, a 17-year-old senior at HHS and president of the club. "We do a lot around the community and it's nice to be recognized, to know that someone's watching."

The diverse group of kids all volunteer loads of time and donate their own money to the projects.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Email From Eagles Ranch

Due to the generous donations of our supporters and partners, we are able to enjoy many emails and letters of gratitude.

Recently, more than 50 children and support staff at Eagles Ranch in Georgia were outfitted for new shoes. The Ranch works with children in crisis, focusing on family restoration and reunification. Since its founding in 1985, the Ranch has served over 700 boys and girls.

Soles4Souls partnered with Jan Ros of Eagles Ranch and Atlanta Falcons center Todd McClure to deliver this early holiday gift.

This email came from one of the house moms shortly after the shoes were delivered. We thought it was only fair to share it with you.

Dear Soles4Souls, I just wanted to take a minute thank you for what you do. I can tell you the girls in our home were truly blessed yesterday. These were a couple of the comments that took place throughout the evening after they received their shoes.

Brooke, the girl in our home that was TRULY in need, says “Oh, my goodness I can’t wait to give my mom her tennis shoes back, she's been letting me borrow them all year!”

Kayla just couldn’t say enough about how much she liked her shoes. She says “Miss Kelly, they even have changeable shoelaces!!” I can’t wait to try out the pink laces!” Then I had to take her to physical therapy and on the way home she says, “Miss Kelly, the doctor commented on my new shoes, she liked them!”

The gentleman that was taking time with our kids was so kind. He made Riley feel so very special, and I think he has been on “special shoes count down” ever since.

Then I went up last night and found some wonderful shoes for myself and while there, found another pair that I thought Brooke would like. Since she is more in need, I brought them home and she could not believe that she was able to have them. She said she saw them and loved them so much, but really needed the tennis shoes more.

Anyway, there is no way that you can fully understand the excitement that you brought into our home, but I wanted to try and convey that to you in some small way. The people that humbled themselves and put shoes on our girls feet touched me so much and I don’t even know who they were to thank them. Maybe in sending this to you, you can get the word out to them. Thank you all so very much.


Ken and Kelly Mitchell
Glory Home

Bloggers Helping Soles4Souls to Reach 50,000 Pair Goal

There are 36 days left in the '50,000 pair in 50 Days challenge' and Nashville writer, editor and blogger Jeff Goins wants to see the challenge met.

Jeff works for the nonprofit organization Adventures in Missions, recruiting people for short-term mission trips. He heard about the 50,000 pair challenge from Soles4Souls partner Anne Jackson, the Zondervan author who is causing a viral campaign of blogging, tweets, and facebook frenzy to help Soles4Souls reach the mark.

While 50,000 pair is lofty goal, Jeff thinks it can be done because of the simplicity of the mission.

"I joined the campaign without anyone guilt-tripping me or twisting my arm," Jeff stated in his blog. "Seeing something so organic and low-key, yet of such a magnitude to impact 50,000 lives, was attractive in and of itself. I needed no coercion, no expensive ad campaigns, no mind-blowing technology to win me over," he said.

Read Jeff Goins' entire blog entry here.

Read Anne Jackson's blog.

To help spread the word, use the widget code on the landing page to post a link on your blog. Email everyone you know. Join the facebook group. Ask your friends to do the same!

Friday, November 21, 2008

St. Gregory’s to the Rescue

St. Gregory's Catholic School in Maryville, Mo unloaded 1,076 pairs of shoes Thursday at the home of The Rev. James Lawson to be donated to Soles4souls.

The sixth grade class, led by Teacher Jennie Halley (above) began an initiative in the Catholic school and church asking families to donate slightly used or new pairs of shoes. Rev. Lawson said he will be collecting shoes throughout the rest of the month before sending them to Soles4Souls.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Teen Gathers Shoes for the Needy

Andrea Diez de Oñate of Pembroke Pines, FL took the idea of giving very seriously -- to the soul of its meaning -- and gave the shoes off her feet to the poor.

''I was inspired,'' said Andrea, 17, a senior at Archbishop Edward McCarthy High School in Southwest Ranches.

That was last month after Andrea found Soles4Souls on the Internet and promoted the cause in Southwest Ranches.

Andrea, an after-school teacher of Catholic education for public school children at St. Mark Catholic School, encouraged students to give up their soles. Fittingly, she gave the kids until All Souls' Day, Nov. 2, to get it done.

The goal was to collect 1,000 pairs of gently worn or new shoes ranging in styles from beach-worthy flip-flops to high-end high heels.

''I thought 1,000 pairs was a lot to ask for, but on the first day of the collection, we filled a car not once, but twice, with bags filled with shoes,'' Andrea said.

Infant shoes, sneakers for tots to teens, embellished sandals, men's Italian business shoes, construction work boots and even snow boots poured in from the school's 100 students. Soon, McCarthy High teachers and students kicked in shoes, too.

Andrea's mother, Lisette Diez de Oñate, who helped her daughter transport the shoes, said the collection surpassed expectations so quickly that storage was moved from the family garage to a donated unit at West Pines Storage.

''It was one giant pile of shoes,'' Diez de Oñate said.

One donor delivered five pairs of brand-new shoes neatly tucked into individual Ziploc bags. Some new shoes arrived still in the box with packaging tissue stuffed inside.

At least one pair seemed strikingly familiar.

''We were packing bags and I thought, ``Hmm, I recognize these. I know my mother's feet,'' Diez de Oñate said.

Andrea's grandmother, Abbey Roiz, and her entire family ended up emptying closets of a dozen pairs of shoes.

By the end of this month, the family will take a road trip to deliver the project's 1,300 total pairs of shoes directly to the Soles4Souls distribution center in Alabama.

Andrea, an honor student whose community service includes three years of leading multiple projects in McCarthy's Support Our Troops, Interact and Key Club programs, said it was ''cool'' to be able to help hundreds of people.

''I'm happy to inspire people who have everything to help people who need so much. It's the right thing to do,'' Andrea said.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Belmont Faithful Step Up for Soles4Souls

Belmont University in Nashville, TN recently hosted a fundraiser for Soles4Souls. Students, faculty and friends gathered to donate shoes and enjoy some live music.

The free concert was at Belmont's Curb Event Center as part of a campaign to collect shoes for 300 million children throughout the world who need them.

Soles4Souls founder Wayne Elsey and spokesperson Tiffany Johnson joined the fun with the students and faculty.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Free Footwear Donated to Homeless in Arkansas

Free footwear will be distributed next week by River City Ministries for the homeless in the Little Rock area.

Red Wing Shoe Company recently donated 12,000 pairs of high quality Red Wing footwear to Soles4Souls which will designated many of them for the annual Thanksgiving Program called 'Our Hearts to Your Soles.'

'Our Hearts to your Soles' was founded in 2004 by Pittsburgh teenagers Matt and Laura Conti, whose father is an ankle and foot surgeon at Allegheny General Hospital. During Thanksgiving Week 2008, Soles4Souls, in partnership with Hearts to Soles, will provide new boots, socks and medical screenings from foot doctors for over 3,000 homeless men in 35 states.

"We are so thankful for Dr. Ruth Thomas and River City Ministries for reaching out to people to provide a vital service that helps make an immediate impact on people in a great time of need," said Wayne Elsey, Founder and CEO of Soles4Souls. "A pair of durable boots can fill a person with hope and confidence. It's a major step towards employment and building self-esteem," he said.

The Hearts to Soles distribution is set for Thursday, November 20 from 6:00 pm 8:00 pm at River City Ministries at 1021 E. Washington, NLR, AR 6 blocks east on Broadway to Hickory and turn right, 2 blocks down on the corner of Hickory and Washington.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hubba Hubba Boutique Wants Your Shoes

The owners of Hubba Hubba boutique in Chicago, IL have decided it’s time to do something about the unused shoes lying idly in your closet! So, until November 30th, they’re giving customers 25 percent off any one item in exchange for an old pair of shoes. If you bring in five pairs, you get 25 percent off your entire purchase.

All shoes will be donated to Soles4Souls, where they will be inspected and cleaned before finding a new and thankful owner.

Hubba Hubba offeres moderately priced women's romantic and classic-style clothing for day and evening wear, as well as new and vintage costume jewelry, accessories and gift items.

Hubba Hubba is located on 3309 N. Clark Street. Call (773) 477-1414 for more information.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Join Soles4Souls and Chris Hope for a "Night with the Secondary"

Team Strategies announces the 1st Annual Chris Hope “Night with the Secondary” to benefit Soles4Souls on Thursday, December 4, 2008 from 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. at Shogun Steakhouse in Brentwood, Tennessee.

Come join Chris and the entire Tennessee Titans secondary for aCheck Spellingn evening of fun, fabulous food, and festivities while raising money for a great cause. Chris and Cortland Finnegan, Michael Griffin, Nick Harper and many more will “tackle” the task of cooking for you, pose for photographs, sign autographs and generally yuck it up while guests bid on some unique and priceless silent auction items.

Chris has donated his time to Soles4Souls by distributing shoes to those in need in the Nashville area. He also recently donated $8,000.00 to help purchase shoes for those in need.

Shogun, one of Tennessee’s largest Japanese Steakhouses, offers the thrill and tranquility of Japanese dining all under one roof. The hibachi tables seat 10 people each and the players will display their newly acquired training as an official hibachi Chef with performances of chopping and dicing. The 4-course hibachi dinner will include an appetizer, soup, salad and vegetables, along with steak, seafood and chicken.

Individual Tickets are $100.00 or $900.00 for a table of 10. Space is limited. Shogun Restaurant is located at 1638 Westgate Circle, Brentwood, Tennessee 37207. Contact Team Strategies at 615-321-4073 or teamstrategies@comcast.net to purchase tickets.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Murfreesboro Half Marathon Donation

The Murfreesboro Half Marathon, in partnership with Soles4Soles, donated 532 pairs of new shoes to the Murfreesboro and Rutherford County school systems in Tennessee that will benefit needy and homeless students.

Rutherford County Schools has reported that more than 600 enrolled children within their educational system are homeless and have homeless parents for the year 2007.

"Right now we have 605 pupils in the Rutherford County Schools that reported being homeless," said Kim Snell, the homeless student liaison provided to the schools under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act passed by Congress in 1986. "That's not including the Murfreesboro City Schools."

In addition to the 532 new pair of shoes, over 1,000 pairs of gently worn shoes were collected during the half marathon. These shoes will be inspected and shipped to third world countries and disaster-stricken areas.

Monday, November 10, 2008

50,000 Pairs in 50 Days

Starting today, Soles4Souls will be launching the 50K in 50 days Charity Campaign.

We are spreading the word to all our supporters and partners to help raise money to buy 50,000 pairs of shoes in just 50 days!

The best part - $5 buys 2 pairs of shoes! It takes under 2 minutes and only three clicks to make a donation. So if you think this is something you can do...five bucks, three clicks and two minutes for 2 pairs of shoes, just visit http://www.50000shoes.com/.

More importantly, this can only happen if we spread the word...so please forward this on to your families, friends and colleagues.

Also, every person who donates on the site will be entered in to win a trip to Mexico to hand deliver the shoes they bought to families in need. Imagine handing a child their very first pairs of shoes!

All donations are tax deductible and thank you for your support!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Church to Hold Barefoot Service

Unity Church for Positive Living in Old Hickory, TN will hold a Barefoot Sunday service at 10:45 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 30 in partnership with Soles4Souls.

Participants will remove their new or gently worn footwear at the door and place them in Soles4Souls collection boxes and enter the sanctuary for the Celebration Service barefoot or in stocking feet.

The donated shoes will be furnished to Soles4Souls headquarters to be distributed. The Unity Church For Positive Living is located at 4319 Saundersville Road.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Dash Arrives in Nashville

Dashiel Alsup, has reached Nashville in his barefoot quest to walk coast-to-coast to gain support for Soles4Souls. Wayne Elsey, founder of Soles4Souls, joined the 19 year-old and walked barefoot to the Nashville Rescue Mission to donate shoes to homeless men.

"Walking barefoot from Washington to Tennessee is already an incredible achievement, and we're honored that he's been undertaking this barefoot journey on our behalf," said Wayne Elsey.

It has been 2,840 miles since Dash turned his back on a cold and lonely beach in Washington state and started walking across America. Today, he reached Nashville where Soles4Souls staff members, volunteers and members of the media finally had their chance to meet the Colorado native who took it upon himself to raise awareness and funds for Soles4Souls.

Dash and Elsey were accompanied by about 30 students from a local school, as well as other volunteers. They began at The Parthenon, walked down Broadway toward 8th Avenue and turned south until they arrived at the Nashville Rescue Mission (about 2 1/2 miles). Many of the volunteers and students also walked barefoot in support of Dash and Soles4Souls. About 500 pairs of shoes were distributed at the Rescue Mission.

After visiting Nashville for a few days, Alsup plans on continuing toward his final goal in Jacksonville, Florida, where he will have walked over 3,000 miles for Soles4Souls.

"I'm really excited to be in Nashville and spend some time with the team at Soles4Souls," he said. "I'm just happy that I can make a difference in people's lives and am looking forward to the final leg of this trip," he said.

Alsup keeps a blog of his journey at http//asinglepebble.blogspot.com.

Hope Chest and a "Good Samaritan" Receive Shoes

During the month of October, 146 pairs of men’s shoes were distributed at the Hope Chest in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The Hope Chest is a ministry outreach program started by the West-Ark Church of Christ that distributes clothing and small household items at no charge to families and individuals that declare themselves in need.

Before the shoes were displayed for distribution at the Hope Chest, the first pair was delivered to a high school student who faithfully assisted his elderly neighbor. Each Monday afternoon, this young man goes immediately from his school bus stop to take the neighbor’s trash to the street for pickup. On Tuesday afternoon he gets off the bus and returns the trash container to her house.

Knowing that his neighbor had been a seamstress in her younger healthier days, he came to her in early October and asked if she could use her sewing machine to repair his tennis shoe (pictured). She knew any repairs to this shoe would need to be done by a much bigger and stronger machine than hers. Then he asked if she had a needle and thread. Together they did make an effort to repair his shoes but with no success.

The story of his needs was told to Betty Moreton, who with her husband, Ron, had traveled on behalf of C.U.R.E. to Roanoke, Alabama, to pickup the shoes from Soles4Souls. Betty immediately went to the warehouse and got new shoes for this young man. She also delivered a pair to his father and his younger brother.

The father is a roofer, fisherman and wood cutter. He too was in much need of a new pair of shoes. Both sons work with their father. New “soles” for each was deeply appreciated.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Naples Store Collecting Shoes

Clothing store lululemon athletica in Naples, FL will collect new and gently worn footwear for the month of November to benefit Soles4Souls.

The Naples store, located on 1170 Third Ave. S., is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Call 213-0506 for more information.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Annual 5K Teams with Soles4Souls

Gearing up for its 24th Great Pumpkin Run, Sacred Heart Cathedral School in Pensacola, FL is adding a new twist to its popular race. In conjunction with the 5K race and walk that raises thousands of dollars for the school each year, organizers are extending a helping hand to Soles4Souls by conducting a shoe drive.

"We thought that combining the pumpkin run and shoe drive is a perfect marriage," said Dyna Boland, a co-director for the race. "We will have a captive audience, so why not see if they can donate to this great cause."

Some of the students have already donated shoes and are asking participating runners and residents throughout the area to 'clean out their closets' and give their gently worn or new shoes to the cause. The goal is to collect about 300 pairs of footwear, which can be dropped off at the school on 1603 N. 12th Avenue or at Fitness 1 on 1, located at 4400 Bayou Blvd in Pensacola.

"Most runners tend to use their shoes for just a couple of months, and then they are just left sitting in their closets," said Sue Ehlers, a co-director of the event. "That's why we are asking for their running shoes, but we will also accept any shoes, as long as they are wearable, including flip-flops."

Billy Sadler, a Pensacola native and professional baseball player for the San Francisco Giants, stopped at the school recently during an assembly to encourage students to participate in the program.

Louis Gomez, a seventh grader who donated shoes, did not need a pep talk to get on board with the program. He knows a little something about being in need.

"I was a hurricane (Katrina) victim, we had to get a whole bunch of clothes from people," said 12-year-old Gomez, who moved to Pensacola with his family after the storm.

The Great Pumpkin Race begins at 8 am on Nov. 15th at Sacred Heart Cathedral School. Registration is $18 for adults and $12 for juniors (14 and younger). An award ceremony will follow with goodies, door prizes and pumpkin pastries baked by some runners and other organizers. For more information, call (850) 436-6440.