So, how are Cinderella, Blake Mycoskie (Founder of TOMS Shoes), and Wayne Elsey (Founder of Soles4Souls) related? They all understand that “one shoe can change your life.” Cinderella may have said it first and, incidentally, may have inspired a whole wave of women to become shoe lovers…but Blake and Wayne have taken that concept to a whole new level…to the tune of millions of pairs of shoes! Imagine how many lives the two of them have changed!
Do you know their stories?
[Here is a little recap of what they’ve done in just the past 4-6 years to change the lives of millions of people in need]
In 2006, Blake Mycoskie was traveling in Argentina when he found out that many of the children there had no shoes to protect their feet. He then created TOMS Shoes to help with this problem. TOMS Shoes is a company that matches every pair of shoes that is purchased with a pair of new shoes that is given to a child in need. “One for One” is their mission. Later that year Blake returned to Argentina with a group of family, friends and staff with 10,000 pairs of shoes donated by TOMS Shoes.
Why Shoes? Because many children in developing countries grow up barefoot. Whether at play, doing chores or going to school, these children are at risk for soil-transmitted diseases, injuries, infections, and the ability to go to school.
Do you want to help? Find out how you can be involved in the “One for One Movement” here, read more about TOMS Shoes on their blog, and shop for TOMS Shoes here. For more information, you can also visit the Friends of TOMS website.
In 2004, after the tsumani hit Southeast Asia, Wayne Elsey, the Founder and CEO of Soles4Souls® Inc., felt compelled to do something. He was at home one night, watching TV when he saw a picture of a single shoe washing up on the beach. That inspired him to call some executives in the footwear industry, and he ended up with a donation of 250,000 shoes to victims in the devastated countries. In 2005, after hurricane Katrina hit, Wayne made calls to the same group of friends, and he got 1,000,000 pairs of shoes donated to send to the affected gulf coast communities. He then decided to start a non-profit and to continue this effort. The next year, Soles4Souls was formally created.
Soles4Souls has a simple mission: to change the world one pair at a time. (Sounding a lot like Cinderella to me, and making that wish a reality.)
“Soles4Souls receives large donations from footwear companies, retailers, churches, nonprofit ministries, civic groups, schools, and individuals and saw that this could become a full time organization. That’s why Soles4Souls was created – to facilitate the donations from these groups to the people who desperately need footwear.” (from their website)
How can you help?
Like Cinderella said, “One shoe can change your life,” so why not change a life and donate a pair of shoes you don’t wear anyway? We all have some of those shoes in our closets, right? Maybe we bought the wrong size…or maybe it fit in the store but didn’t fit right once we got it home…or maybe we have some shoes that just look out of style to us…or maybe the color is just all wrong for our clothes and we know we’ll never wear those shoes…or… We can all find some shoes that are in good condition in our homes that we can donate. I go through my closet about twice a year (in the summer and in the winter) and get rid of those shoes to donate. And for those of us with kids, well we know that half of the time they outgrow the shoes before the shoes are worn out! Those can be donated too! I do this with my daughter’s shoes all the time! And finally, in my office we collect “Shoes for the Homeless” and “Shoes for the Needy” year-round. We donate them to local organizations in our community that need them. If you can do any of these, please click this link to find Soles4Souls drop-off locations in your area. (If you are in Southern California, you can donate new or gently used shoes directly in my office.) You can also donate funds directly to Soles4Souls.
Dedicated to your foot health and to your shoes,
Dr. Michele, The Shoe Expert
“All Shoes, All the Time!”