Monday, December 21, 2009

Watsonville store hosts Soles4Souls shoe drive

From Santa Cruz Sentinel
By Jory John

WATSONVILLE -- Watsonville retail store Queen's Shoes and More has started its second annual shoe drive to benefit Soles4Souls, a nonprofit organization dedicated to collecting shoes and distributing them to people in need.

Last year, Queen's Shoes & More gathered more than 150 pairs of shoes, which they sent to Soles4Souls for repairs and distribution. The shoe drive, which commenced Dec. 1, runs until the end of this month.

Sindy Hernandez, co-owner of Queen's Shoes & More, said that the goal is to collect as many pairs of shoes as possible for disadvantaged families. Hernandez originally heard about Soles4Souls on television.

"I thought, what better way to give back," Hernandez said. "It feels good giving shoes to people who don't have anything."

Hernandez said that memories of her childhood contribute to her awareness of how important a good pair of shoes can be.

"I grew up in Mexico, being very poor," she said. "We only got new shoes once a year. We wore our shoes until our toes were coming out of them. Even though I have had success, I haven't forgotten about that."

Hernandez, who started Queen's Shoes & More with her husband Carlos Cornejo, said that for every pair of shoes donated, patrons receive a 10-percent discount at the store. For every pair sold during the month of December, Queen's Shoes & More will donate a new pair of shoes to Soles4Souls.

Overall, Hernandez said that the 2009 shoe drive is going well, but that she expects more donations.

"So far, we have a box and a half full of shoes. Everybody has shoes in their closet that they don't use. It's a good way to give back," she said.

David Graben, executive vice president of Nashville, Tenn.-based Souls4Soles, said that without people like Sindy Hernandez, Soles4Souls couldn't have thrived.

"They are the backbone of what we do," he said.

Founded in 2004 in the aftermath of the tsunami in Southeast Asia, Soles4Souls has given away more than 5 million pairs of shoes in more than 125 countries.

Graben said that there are 300 million people in the world without shoes and that Americans have about 1.5 billion pairs of extra shoes in their closets.

"Think about giving what shoes you can," Graben said. "Or, consider running your own shoe drive."

Queen's Shoes & More is at 1939 Main St. in Watsonville in the Crossroads Shopping Center. For information about Soles4Souls, visit

No comments: