Erin is a cross country and track & field athlete at Black Hills State University, where she will begin her sophomore year in the fall. This summer, Erin wanted to coordinate a road race in her community and thought that it would be fun to incorporate some sort of cause. She then decided that participants could have the option of donating shoes for people in need. Erin chose to make the race a shoe drive for Soles4Souls. Finally, Wahoo’s Shoes for the Sole Run/Walk event was born!
We thought it would be interesting to ask Erin some questions about her shoe drive experience...
Q. When you first began organizing the 5k, why did you choose partner with Soles4Souls?
A. When I first began planning this event, I was unsure of where to send the shoes. I did some research and found that Soles4Souls distributed shoes around the world and also to places here in the United States. Their mission was inspiring and made me want to join the cause!
Q. How did you get other people involved in your shoe drive? How did you promote your event?
A. Promotion was a key factor. I put up flyers, advertised the event in the local newspaper, created a Wahoo Running Facebook page, and asked area businesses for their support. The community was very receptive, which was apparent by the number of shoes collected.
Q. What has been the best part about your experience?
A, The best part of my experience was seeing the event come to fruition. It was hard work putting on the road race. However, watching the participants truly enjoy themselves at the event, and looking on as the pile of shoes grew larger, more than made up for the stresses and work. The happiness I felt was overwhelming!
Q. Any interesting or funny stories that involve collecting shoes?
A. Participants who gave shoes at the Shoes for the Sole Run/Walk were put into a drawing to win one of two gift certificates to Lincoln Running Co., a specialty running store in Lincoln, Nebraska. When we called off one of the names, a tiny, five-year-old girl came to the front to claim her prize! It was adorable and refreshing to see that someone so small is making a difference in the world around her.
Q. If you could give one piece of advice for someone who was wanting to host a shoe drive, what would you say?
A. If a person is thinking about hosting a shoe drive I would tell them to take action! Don’t be afraid to ask for help or of a low success rate. After all, in the words of Soles4Souls, it’s about “changing the world one pair at a time.”
We're extremely grateful for people, like Erin, who are passionate about changing lives by giving the gift of shoes.
If you have a story from your shoe drive, share it with us!