Soles 4 Souls

The GFWC Centennial Woman’s Club is asking the community to donate any of their used shoes to help Soles4Souls. Shoes can be donated to several locations around town until Nov. 12. Pictured at Clayton’s with a collection basket are First Vision Bank’s Kim King, Anne Wonder, Kathryn Hopkins and Missy Shahan of GFWC Centennial Woman’s Club, Clatyon’s owner Florence Hull, Mary Anne Scott with GFWC Centennial Woman’s Club and Chelsea Brooks of Creations Hair Salon.

One person’s unwanted shoes can help provide meaningful opportunities that many in developing nations need, which is why the GFWC Centennial Woman’s Club of Tullahoma has launched a shoe drive to collect 1,000 pairs of new or gently-worn shoes by November 12. Shoes of any size, condition and type can be dropped off at the following participating Tullahoma locations: Clayton’s Shoe Store, Creations Hair Salon, First Vision Bank, and Shoe Sensation.

The shoes will be delivered to Soles4Souls–a non-profit social enterprise that creates sustainable jobs and provides relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world. Founded in 2006, the organization has distributed more than 30 million pairs of new and gently-worn shoes in 127 countries.

The World Bank estimates that approximately 767 million people live on less than $1.90 per day. Many people living in extreme poverty simply do not have access to stable employment.

Soles4Souls’ micro-enterprise programs offer a long-term solution to poverty through job creation in places like Haiti, Honduras and Sierra Leone. They also give a second life to unwanted shoes, keeping them out of landfills and protecting the environment.

“The GFWC Centennial Woman’s Club is a strong supporter of Soles4Souls’ mission,” said Missy Shahan, Club Conservation Chair. “To know that we can create meaningful impact around the globe by simply collecting and donating what is otherwise destined for the trash is a really great feeling.”

The shoes are sold for an average of $1 per pair to non-profit partners in developing countries that provide business training to local entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs purchase the shoes and are then able to start businesses of their own selling the product in their local marketplaces. This allows entrepreneurs the opportunity to earn a sustainable income, and ultimately purchase necessities like food, shelter and education.

The income generated by selling just one pair of shoes in Haiti can provide up to five meals for a family in need, whereas 30 pairs sold by an entrepreneur in Honduras can provide up to a year of schooling for a child. Revenue generated by Soles4Souls’ micro-enterprise operations funds the organization’s free distribution programs that provide new shoes to people in need both in the U.S. and around the world.

She added that some of the women’s group are planning to travel to the Dominican Republican early next year to help distribute the shoes.

“Millions of pairs of shoes lay idle in people’s closets,” said Ms. Shahan. “Give those to Soles4Souls instead, and know that you are taking a step to help disrupt the cycle of poverty around the globe.”

For more information about GFWC Centennial Woman’s Club, visit us our website at www.gfwccentennailwomansclub.com or on Facebook at GFWC Centennial of Tullahoma. 

Duane Sherrill may be reached at dsherrill@tullahomanews.com.