Fighting poverty by donating used shoes

Fighting poverty by donating used shoes

The saying goes "put yourself in their shoes", but one group is working to put someone else in your shoes.

St. Andrew Lutheran Church and Marcy's Planet Shoes have been collecting shoes for the Soles4Souls shoe drive.

Soles4Souls is a global not-for-profit based out of Nashville, TN that fights poverty by collecting new and used shoes to distribute to people in need in 129 countries around the world, and by giving shoes to programs designed to create jobs in poor and disadvantaged communities.

The charity's website says most new items collected from corporations and retailers are given directly to people in need, both in the U.S. and overseas. Soles4souls also brings in millions of pairs of used shoes that the group sorts and sells at a very low cost to programs that provide jobs to impoverished people through the creation of ultra-small businesses. Ultra-small businesses, according to the charity, could be a table in an open marketplace or a street vendor selling used shoes. Either way, donated shoes, new or old, help improve the lives of those in need.

"Soles4Souls helps give a hand-up instead of hand-out. That can change people's lives," said local coordinator Cheryl Reinagel.

Marcy's Planet Shoes started the push for local shoes in Cape Girardeau back in 2009. St. Andrew Lutheran Church joined the following year and the shoe drive has grown every year.

Last year the group collected nearly 3,000 pairs of shoes.

This year, it's over 6,500 pairs of shoes collected.

People came in to drop off shoes by the dozens and even by the hundreds. One man says he brought in more than 100 pairs of shoes that his church collected in Sikeston.

"I just think it speaks a lot for our community, a lot for our church," said Randy Crowe of Sikeston. "We have a very giving church. Friday we found out about it, and word went out on a robo-call on Saturday and this is what we got Sunday morning."

The local drive in Cape Girardeau ran through Sunday.

To learn more about Soles4Souls click here.

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