Doris Janssen, CHBC News Kelowna: Tuesday, April 13, 2010
The locally organized Soles 4 Souls fundraiser was originally looking for 25,000 pairs of shoes for needy people in the Okanagan and in 125 countries around the world. More than 40,000 pairs have been donated.
“Not only the people of Kelowna and the Okanagan have opened up their hearts to this cause, they've opened up their closets in droves and brought down lots of footwear,” says Jim Belshaw, the local organizer and owner of Roy’s Shoes in Kelowna.
Sorting is taking place to box up the shoes and send them to a sorting location in Nevada, where the shoes will be distributed by the world wide Soles 4 Souls organization, with the help of Telus Community Ambassadors and the Kelowna Sunrise Rotary Club.
Many pairs stayed in the Okanagan to benefit less fortunate people.
Shoe manufacturer Keen also donated dozens of brand new shoes for the cause.
“What we did was contact as many social agencies up and down the valley we could,” says Belshaw. “I was on the phone right until last night. Contacting them and reminding them to come down.”
“He’s got a variety of warm boots and runners and also has sandals,” says Sonja Mountain, an outreach worker with the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society. “With the warm weather coming up it's going to be awesome for our clients.”
“Often times when our clients are going to find a job, or go to work, they need boots or decent shoes, and it’s always posed a problem,” says Mountain. “When he called us for this opportunity we jumped on it.”
The event is expected to take place every year.
Roy's Shoes, Boots and Repair
1627 Ellis Street
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