Friday, January 02, 2009

Soles4Souls Heading to Miami to Pick Up Thousands of "Lost Shoes" Spilled on Highway

Thousands of shoes were dumped on a Miami expressway Friday morning causing significant traffic delays.

Lt. Pat Santangelo says the Florida Highway Patrol received the report during rush hour. Workers were able to clear at least one lane after a short time by sweeping all the shoes to shoulder, but delays were expected to last until all the shoes could be removed.

Santangelo says he's not sure where the shoes came from. There were no signs of a crash, and no one stopped to claim them. He says the shoes appear to be used, and most were tied together in pairs. He says he's looking for a charity to take the shoes, rather than sending them to the dump.

Soles4Souls contacted the Florida Highway Patrol and offered to immediately collect the shoes on behalf of needy people it supports.

"These shoes are abandoned property and we're happy that Soles4Souls can make good use out them," said Santengelo.

Soles4Souls Founder and CEO, Wayne Elsey, said the sight of thousands of abandoned shoes was a stark reminder of how many shoes are tossed into American landfills. "Too many perfectly good shoes are thrown away each year, and it's a shame," he said. "Soles4Souls is dedicated to keeping usable footwear out of our landfills and putting them on the feet of needy people around the world," he said.

Soles4Souls has a team on the way to Miami to pick up the shoes, and will distribute them to needy people in Haiti. The island nation is still recovering after a devastating hurricane season, and the shoe charity has already distributed 100,000 pairs of shoes to Haitians in the past four months. Soles4Souls is working with several other charities to send relief shipments of food, clothing, shoes and medicine before the end of January.

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