Each year, 700 million pairs of shoes are thrown away by Americans. One in four adults in the world live in poverty, where necessities like shoes are not available. Across the globe, there are people who go daily without shoes. Soles4Souls is a global not-for-profit institution whose main goal is to get those unwanted shoes to people who need them the most.
This year, Teleperformance and Soles4Souls have joined forces to hold a drive in Boise. They ask that anyone and everyone bring in their gently worn shoes to be recycled and distributed.
“The organization has relationships with several of the world’s leading apparel brands, which provide Soles4Souls with new but non-marketable overstocks, returns, discontinued models and other shoes or clothing items,” according to Soles4Souls website. “Soles4Souls receives millions of articles of used shoes and clothing that have been collected by individuals, schools, faith-based institutions, civic organizations and corporate partners.”
Rebecca Cicione, media manager at Soles4Soles, elaborated futher.
“The shoes are distributed in multiple ways. Brand new product is sent directly to individuals in need in the United States and around the world”. Cicione said. “Used product is distributed via our micro-enterprise program. These shoes are sent to entrepreneurs in developing nations who fix up the shoes and sell them in their local marketplace. This creates jobs and boosts the local economy.”
Soles4Souls has donated over 20 million pairs of shoes around the world. In developing nations such as Haiti, Honduras and Tanzania, the main form of transportation is walking. Shoes are important in protecting the feet against cuts and infections. In some parts of the world, children aren’t allowed to go to school without shoes, continuing the cycle of poverty.
“Shoes can enable someone to step out of poverty,” said Buddy Teaster, CEO of Soles4Souls. “Please join in this initiative to collect gently worn footwear, and possibly improve the quality of someone’s daily life.”
People of all ages and sizes are in need of shoes, so as many sizes and styles donated, the better.
“There are colleges across the country who host shoe drives. We are always excited when another student decides to lead a shoe drive on his or her campus. It’s a great way for them to get involved and super easy,” Cicione said. “Hosting a shoe drive doesn’t take up too much time, so it’s a volunteer activity that won’t interfere with school or campus activities.”
This drive isn’t one held annually, so those interested in getting involved with this cause need to act. From now until Jan. 31, shoes will be accepted at 9324 West Emerald Street. Donation times are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.