Friday, October 09, 2009

St. John's Church in Walhalla Collects Over 600 Pairs of Shoes for Soles4Souls

Changing the world, one pair of shoes at a time
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When St. John's Lutheran Church in Walhalla decided to participate in Soles4Souls, not many expected the response to be so overwhelming. The church was able to collect more than 600 pairs of shoes that will go to the less fortunate.

St. John’s Lutheran Church held a shoe drive last week that aided in the largest shoe donation operation that reaches needy people worldwide.

Soles4Souls is a non-profit organization that began after founder, Wayne Elsey, started watching footage of the 2004 tsunami aftermath.

He felt compelled to do something after he watched a single shoe wash ashore amidst the overwhelming devastation. It was then that he began making phone calls to executives in the footwear industry.

With his efforts, 250,000 pairs of shoes were sent to Southeast Asia.

A year later, Hurricane Katrina hit and he started to make those same phone calls again.

This time, Elsey was able to round up 1 million pairs to send off to the disaster zone.

After emerging successfully with his shoe donation efforts, he decided to focus on the mission full-time.

Now, millions of pairs of shoes are sent all over the world, helping people
shelter their feet when they weren’t able to before.

"I'm happy to be able to help people with such a simple mission," Elsey said. "The growth of this organization has been rapid, and I am excited to get involved on a daily basis so that I can devote more time to a cause that makes a difference in people's lives.”

And the people at St. John’s in Walhalla felt the same way, as its shoe drive collected 600 pairs of gently used shoes that will go to needy people of all ages.

“Thank you to St. John's,” said Pastor David Coffman. “We had a tremendous response to Soles4 Souls. Think of how many people will have shoes to wear because we cleaned our closets. This is a great example of the community being stewards of the earth.”

Soles4Souls receives large donations from footwear companies, retailers, churches, nonprofit ministries, civic groups, schools and individuals.

For more information on the project, visit

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