Monday, April 30, 2012

Let the Sorting Begin

Children's shoes, women's shoes, men's shoes, work boots, sandals, winter boots, a record number of shoes are now arriving for this years Soles 4 Souls campaign. Now is the time to sort them all.

Volunteers are meeting for sorting on next 3 Tuesday mornings from 10 am to Noon 1026 Enterprise Way across the street from Tim Hortons.

If you would like to pitch in contact Jim Belshaw Roy's Shoes, Boots and Repair 1627 Ellis Street Kelowna, BC V1Y 2A8 250-763-5696

Sunday, April 22, 2012

CANADA AM - Laureen Harper puts her best foot forward for Soles4Souls Canada

Laureen Harper is putting her best foot forward as she donates shoes to Ottawa’s Soles4Souls project.

The prime ministers wife added a few more shoes to the pile at city hall yesterday and encouraged everyone to see if they have some gently worn shoes to donate.

The Ottawa Soles4Souls chapter hopes to collect 200 hundred thousand pairs of shoes this month in support of the organizations nationwide Million Shoe Mission.

In Attendance:
Laureen Harper
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson,
Dymon Self Storage - Senior VP Stephen Creighton
Local Heroes - Mark Kosmos

CTV’ S - Beverly Thomson co-hosts CANADA AM -- CTV's National morning show -- weekdays from 6 a.m. - 9 a.m. ET

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Premier Christy Clark supports Soles4Souls Canada Shoe Drive

April 2012-04-18

A Message from the British Columbia Premier

As Premier of the Province of British Columbia, I am very pleased to congratulate Soles 4 Souls on the success of its shoe drive over the past 3 years.

Jim Belshaw and his team have identified an excellent opportunity to support children and adults around the world.  I understand that the Soles 4 Souls program supports humanitarian relief efforts and microenterprise projects, with the ultimate goal of enriching the lives of those without a comfortable pair of shoes.

Community initiatives like the Million Shoe Mission make a world of difference for these individuals and I want to thank all of the volunteers, community sponsors, and donor for your generous support.

Once again, congratulations on your success to date and I wish you all the best in your efforts to collect 100,000 pairs of shoes in British Columbia.


Christy Clark


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Reba McEntire, Keith Urban, Alan Jackson and Billy Gilman donate music to Soles 4 Souls

Scheduled to be released on April 16, 2012, the objective of The Choice is to put 500,000 pairs of shoes on children in need.



The Choice came to life through the contribution of the voices of Gilman and fellow country artists Rodney Atkins, Montgomery Gentry, Amy Grant, Steve Holy, Alan Jackson, Wynonna Judd, Richie McDonald, Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, Ronnie Milsap, Craig Morgan, Kellie Pickler, LeAnn Rimes, Diamond Rio, Kenny Rogers, Randy Travis, Josh Turner, and Keith Urban.

Nashville, TN – March 21, 2012– Multi-platinum selling artist and Gammy nominee Billy Gilman, will make his much anticipated return to music with the April 16th release of “The Choice”, a charity single that will benefit Soles4Souls®. In addition to Gilman, the song features 18 of country music’s top artists, including Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Josh Turner, and Keith Urban (see entire list of artists below). Through the strong support of CMT and Regal Entertainment Group, the music video associated with the song will get great national exposure with its premiere on April 16th.

Gilman, who has sold more than six million albums worldwide and garnered awards and nods from the Academy of Country Music, the Country Music Association, Billboard Magazine, and the American Music Association, was in the process of writing material for his upcoming music project with two of his co-writers, Dan Murph and Philip Douglas, when the idea for The Choice was born. The group watched a YouTube video in which Soles4Souls challenged people from all across the country to start their own shoe drives in their communities and do something to benefit those living in adverse poverty and in need of footwear. But instead of setting up a collection bin on a crowded street, they got the idea to do what they do best–write a song. They agreed that every penny generated from the song, including the songwriters’ and publishers’ shares, would go to Soles4Souls. Within one week, the trio penned The Choice and pitched the idea to the charity organization.

“This pretty much started out as just a song for Billy,” said Murph. “Then he called and asked a fellow artist to sing on it with him. And that led to another artist. And before we knew it, all of these amazing iconic country artists were lining up to volunteer their time and talent to this song and this amazing cause. The support for Soles4Souls among the country music community has grown beyond our wildest expectations.”

The Choice was recorded in a Nashville studio one week following the meeting between Gilman’s team and Soles4Souls. It is being released on the Cotton Valley Records (CVR) label through the generous support of recording studio veteran J. Gary Smith. “Having partnered with some of the world’s finest talent, CVR is proud to participate in this amazing project,” said Smith. “Soles4Souls is a wonderful organization and The Choice a truly inspiring song. One hundred percent of the proceeds go directly to Soles4Souls.”

In addition to premiering the music video, CMT is putting its muscle behind the song with an extensive marketing campaign that will include promotion on CMT main channel, CMT mobile, CMT Insider, CMT Radio, and CMT blogs. Regal Entertainment Group, the largest movie cinema company in the United States, will air an exclusive 30-second clip of The Choice for a two week period beginning April 16th on all of its 6,775 screens. The clip features a performance by Gilman and a special message urging people to download the song and bring the goal of placing 500,000 pair of shoes one step closer to reality.

“Soles4Souls is a very worthwhile cause and Regal Entertainment Group is proud to support this initiative by featuring the message on our screens to be viewed by moviegoers all across the country,” said Dick Westerling, Regal Entertainment Group, SVP.

Gilman burst onto the national stage in 2000 at the age of 12, releasing the hit single “One Voice” and becoming the youngest singer to land on the Top 40 country charts. His debut album was certified double platinum in the United States, and he was included in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the youngest singer to ever reach #1 on the Billboard Top Country Album charts.

Dedicated to providing shoes to children and adults around the world who live in adverse poverty, Soles4Souls® has donated more than 17 million pairs of shoes across 129 countries since its inception in 2004.

About The Choice

Never in the history of country music have so many stars united on one single song! The Choice was co-written by multi-platinum selling GRAMMY nominee Billy Gilman to bring attention to the world wide plight of children in desperate need of shoes. One hundred percent of the proceeds from digital download of The Choice go directly to Soles4Souls, one of the fastest-growing nonprofits in the country whose goal is simply to put shoes on people in need. Scheduled to be released on April 16, 2012, the objective of The Choice is to put 500,000 pairs of shoes on children in need.

For more information contact:

Eastern Canada

Donald J.L. Robichaud
Director Eastern Canada Soles4Souls
613- 466-0416 or 1-888-768-9415


Western Canada

Jim Belshaw Roy's Shoes, Boots and Repair 1627 Ellis Street Kelowna, BC V1Y 2A8 250-763-5696

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Castanet-Saving a Million Soles

The goal is to collect 100,000 pairs of shoes in Kelowna during the month of April as part of Sole4Souls Canada's Million Shoe Mission.

Many of the shoes collected will remain in the Okanagan and will be distributed out into the community through agencies like the Gospel Mission, however the remaining shoes are destined for something much different.

Since its inception in 2004, Soles4Souls has distributed over 17 million pairs of shoes for crisis relief situations in countries like Haiti and Japan after the earthquakes. But not all the shoes are just given away, in some countries people take the donated shoes and sell them as part of a micro-enterprise program.

Jim Belshaw, who started Soles4Souls Canada, says last year 7,000 pairs of the 60,000 pairs of shoes collected remained in the Okanagan, but the remaining shoes were shipped primarily to Haiti.

"Soles4Souls was finding that you go into a country and drop a bunch of shoes and take off, which is good, it puts shoes on the feet of those who need them. But if you teach someone how to sell them, it's the old saying 'if you give a man a fish he eats for a day, you teach a man to fish he eats for a lifetime'."

CAO of Soles4Souls, Todd McKee, says giving shoes away for crisis relief is appropriate in many situations to address the immediate needs of people who are suffering, but to fight poverty on a long term basis, micro-enterprise is the best solution.

"There is a time for relief and a time for development, so Soles4Souls does both."

According to McKee the micro-enterprise program started in Haiti and has since spread to six other countries.

"It's a consignment model, so that the people don't have to come up with any up front costs, they just receive inventory of shoes and then they go out and sell them then come back and reimburse our man in Haiti for his costs, and then he orders another container of shoes from us and then he reimburses us for the cost."

The cost of the shoes sold by vendors in places such as Haiti is estimated to be ten dollars, while their reimbursement fee is approximately two dollars. McKee says the money Soles4Souls brings in is the cost of shipping and processing the shoes.

"We employ 25 people in Alabama in a very small disadvantaged town, called Wadley. So what they do is when they receive shoes there, they take them, sort them to size and condition. If they are B or C grade then they are destined for micro-enterprise if they are A grade then they are for crisis relief."

'A' Grade shoes are new or almost brand new and need no repairs, while B or C shoes are gently used and need to be fixed up by the vendors before selling.

McKee says Soles4Souls is very transparent in explaining where the shoes are going and how they are being distributed.

"We get more criticism from people for giving away shoes, because there is a huge current in the non-profit world about 'dumping' donations in foreign countries. So I email back and I say we do micro-enterprise to help local economies and benefit them long term. Donations help to alleviate suffering, but micro-enterprising can help with long term poverty by allowing the merchant to make money to feed his family."

According to McKee the micro-enterprise programs are going well and countries such as Tanzania have vendors asking for more donations.

"When I spoke with (the) Tanzanians, the consensus was they make $300 a month which is about three times the average of other Tanzanians and what we are trying to do is reach out to the single moms, the widows or other people that never new about the opportunity and bring them in to learn about the basic business principles. We hope that by attracting these folks and bringing them in for business training, they will know that when they receive the shoes for consignment that this will be a long term business opportunity."

There are 130 countries, including those with micro-enterprise programs, that receive crisis relief shoes from Soles4Souls and McKee says they are looking to do more work in other nations, especially South America.

"Donations can only be given to places where there is a policy in place to receive the shoes. A lot of countries, whether it is civic pride or what not, may not want that kind of donation."

Soles4Souls Canada has recently been named a registered charity and according to McKee this will benefit Canadian manufacturers who donated shoes that cannot be sold due to flaws with a tax incentive.

Back in Kelowna the goal remains the same, donated shoes and a few extra dollars to help change the lives of people in this community and around the world.

Belshaw says Soles4Souls Canada started as a little idea three years ago and has grown with help of the community.

"It started when the devastating earthquake hit Haiti and I thought I would collect a few thousand pair of shoes. I had a lofty goal of 2500 shoes and the first day we had 4000 or 5000 pairs of shoes dropped off. We collected 45,000 pairs of shoes the first year, and 60,000 last year and this year 100,000 pairs in BC. "

Throughout the country Belshaw expects there will be half a million pairs of shoes collected in the next 30 days for Soles4Souls.

Three ways to help:

1) Drop off shoe locations at the drop off locations see
2) A $1.00 donation buys 1 pair of new sandals/shoes. To donate go to
3) Organize a shoe drive at a: school, church, your place of business or neighbourhood.

Article provided by Castanet-Kelowna

Jim Belshaw Roy's Shoes, Boots and Repair 1627 Ellis Street Kelowna, BC V1Y 2A8 250-763-5696

Got Some Unused Shoes in The Closet?

The Kelowna man who started the Canadian campaign for Soles4Souls has set an ambitious goal for their third annual event: 100,000 shoes collected in BC.

“There are 300 million kids in the world without any shoes,” says Jim Belshaw, who makes a living selling and fixing shoes at his Okanagan shop, Roy’s Shoes.

“It’s incredible to see the joy on someone’s face when they realize. It’s almost like they can look forward instead of down where they are stepping because they actually have a good pair of shoes.”

At first, Belshaw’s efforts collected 45,000 pairs in British Columbia. The second year, BC residents donated 65,000. In the charity’s six years operating internationally, 17 million shoes have been collected in 130 countries.

“We all have 3, 4, 5, 6 pairs of shoes in our closet we don’t wear anymore,” says Belshaw. “It’s very effective.”

Shoe donations can be dropped off at Roy’s Shoes, Prospera Credit Union, Capri Insurance, Starbucks and McDonald’s Restaurants in the Okanagan.

Read it on Global News: Soles4Souls sets big goal in BC

Jim Belshaw Roy's Shoes, Boots and Repair 1627 Ellis Street Kelowna, BC V1Y 2A8 250-763-5696

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

2012 Goal 100,000 Pairs of Shoes

At the Soles 4 Souls Kelowna Press release on Monday April 2 Jim Belshaw announced the goal for 2012  shoes for British Columbia, 100,000 pairs of Shoes.

In 2010 the first year of the program in Kelowna they raised 45,000 pairs of shoes, in 2011 65,000 and in 2012 they are striving for 100,000 pairs of shoes in BC.

Jim also announced the Canadian target of half a million pairs of shoes Canada wide, including Ottawa, Montreal, and Edmonton.

Jim mentioned the success of the fund raising efforts was due many of the participating sponsors such as
  • McDonald's, Starbuck's, Big O Tire, and many others for having a drop off location conveniently located around BC.
  • Gord Halvorsen and the drivers from Total Delivery Systems for handling the pick up of all the shoes for delivery to the provincial sorting centre. 
  • Telus Volunteers at the Kelowna sorting centre.
  • Al Stober for the use of the warehouse for sorting the shoes.

Attending the event from Soles 4 Souls World headquarters in Nashville Tennesee CFO Kevin Goughary, and Chief Counsel/Chief Administrative Officer Todd McKee.

Also attending the event were Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray, former Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd, and long with councillors Colin Basran, Maxine Dehart and Mohini Singh.

On Tuesday April 4th Jim, Kevin and Todd will be presenting to local Okanagan school's to raise more awareness of Souls 4 Soles.

In the words of Jim Belshaw "The Campaign only lasts 30 days ... so make sure to clean out your closets. It is amazing such a small idea can grow into 17 million pairs of shoes world wide!".

For a drop off location near you go to

Thank you to Sue Freeman of Portrait Art Photography for the pictures.

For more information contact Jim Belshaw Roy's Shoes, Boots and Repair 1627 Ellis Street Kelowna, BC V1Y 2A8 250-763-5696

Soles 4 Souls Kelowna - Roy’s Shoes Kelowna BC

My Kelowna Blog List