A few years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic and work in some of the poorest villages. In these villages, large families lived in small shacks; living only about two miles away from the beautiful beaches along the Caribbean. However, many of the children had never stepped foot in the gorgeous clear water or even in the warm sand. Although we might find that a crime to live so close to the beach and never experience it, that was the least of their worries. One thing that stood out amongst everything was how little they had. Some children had little clothes and almost no one had shoes. No shoes? How could someone walk around in the glass and rock filed dirt roads with no shoes? Unfortunately, about 300 million children* in the world walk around without shoes every day. Fortunately, there are many ways you can help put shoes on these barefoot children. One unique organization is Soles4Souls.
Soles4Souls is simple. They collect shoes and give them to the needy. Their donations provide “new shoes to give relief to victims of abject suffering and [collect] used shoes to support micro-business efforts to eradicate poverty.” Donations are received through many different outlets. They receive “large donations from footwear companies, retailers, churches, nonprofit ministries, civic groups, schools, and individuals.”
Soles4Souls sends shoes all over the world in 127 countries, including here in the United States. Internationally, they send shoes to orphanages, women in villages who are retrieving water miles away from their homes, and workers in city landfills who have no shoes. In the United States, shoes are given for disaster relief programs, summer camps for disadvantaged children, the Navajo/Hopi Indian Reservations, and many shelters and hospitals. Not only does Soles4Souls send shoes, they provide mirco-businesses to help bring incomes to “impoverished people in developing nations with the resources to start and maintain their own business. In this way, the charity focuses on long-term development, as opposed to short-term crisis relief.”
Help bring comfort and protection to people in need. You can help Soles4Souls by donating new or old shoes, organizing a shoe drive in your community, or making a donation to cover the cost of shipping.
To donate and find your nearest Drop Off Location, click here.
To learn more about Soles4Souls, click here.