Monday, February 22, 2010

25 days, 25,000 pairs of donated shoes - Castanet Article

25 days, 25,000 pairs of donated shoes
by Elisha Dacey - Story: 52867
Feb 22, 2010 / 5:00 am

Everyone has at least one or two pairs of shoes in their closet that they don't wear anymore, but can't bear to throw away because they're still in good condition.

Why not donate those shoes to people who need them?

That's the idea behind Soles 4 Souls Canada, which is being spearheaded by Roy's Shoes owner Jim Belshaw.

Belshaw says it was the images of a devastated Haiti that spurred him to act.

"I've been thinking about doing this for about a year," says Belshaw.

But after the first pictures came back of the earthquake destruction in the Haitian capital of Port au Prince, he started calling people to help him organize and partner the drive.

A month later, Belshaw plans to kick off the charity drive with a press conference on Tuesday and collect as many pairs of shoes as he can throughout the Valley, with a goal of 25,000 pairs in mind.

"I think we can get to 25,000 easily," says Belshaw.

Partnering with many community sponsors, Belshaw will collect new and gently used shoes for 25 days, from February 24 to March 20.

The shoes collected will be offered up to local charities first, with the rest going to international charity efforts, including those in Haiti.

Belshaw has managed to partner with Canada Post and is working on an airline partnership to get the shoes where they need to go.

Belshaw says shoes of all shapes, sizes and styles are welcome and needed - even those three-inch stilettos in the back of your closet.

"We partner with the Kelowna Women's Shelter...a lot of those women have left their homes with nothing. They need the nicer shoes to go out for job interviews."

"So really, everything is needed."

The shoe drive is happening from Penticton to Kamloops and everywhere in between. Shoes can be dropped off at Roy's Shoes at 1627 Ellis Street, all Capri Insurance offices from Kamloops to Penticton, the Ramada Hotel in Kelowna and the Vernon Lodge.

If people don't have shoes to donate, a $5 donation payable at Roy's Shoes will purchase two pairs of brand new sandals, thanks to a partnership Soles4Souls has with a footwear maker.

Belshaw says he's also hoping schools and other organizations will organize small footwear drives of their own and drop them off.

Belshaw says all they ask is that the shoes have no holes in the soles and are wearable.

Jim Belshaw
Roy's Shoes, Boots and Repair
1627 Ellis Street
Kelowna, BC
V1Y 2A8

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