Attention anyone with a closet and spring-cleaning plans: Those shoes you no longer want are desperately needed to fight global poverty.
That’s the message being delivered by Soles4Souls Inc., which has launched an ongoing recycling initiative in Lexington to collect shoes to help the poor.
The shoes can be dropped off at their signature metal recycling bins at the following location:
2401 Harrodsburg Road
340 Majer Way
2750 Richmond Road
The bins will be monitored and emptied by Soles4Souls, an international anti-poverty organization that monetizes used shoes and clothing to create sustainable jobs and fund direct relief efforts, including the distribution of new shoes and clothing.
Founded in 2007, the Nashville-based organization has distributed more than 21 million shoes in well over 100 countries.
Soles4Souls – which holds the highest rating from nonprofit watchdog Charity Navigator - says it will convert every used pair of shoes collected from the Lexington community into a value-added social currency to achieve positive change, both humanitarian and economic.
Most of the reusable shoes will be sold as inventory for microenterprise programs that create jobs in Haiti and other poor nations, according to the organization. The resulting revenue will be used to acquire, transport and give away new shoes provided to Soles4Souls by Skechers and many other well-known brands.
Among its many relief programs, the organization says it is currently raising funds to ship 30,000 new pairs of shoes to Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines.
The connection between poverty and shoes is well-documented. Experts estimate that approximately 400 million children worldwide – almost as many as the entire U.S. population – live without shoes on their feet. Millions of these children will grow up never having had a pair of shoes, resulting in significant ramifications for their health and well-being.
Lacking proper footwear, countless children will not be able or permitted to attend school. And tens of millions of these poverty-stricken, barefoot boys and girls will be infected with soil-transmitted parasitic diseases like hookworm, causing lasting suffering and lifelong debilitation.
For more information about the Soles2Souls organization and their efforts, you can visit www.soles4souls.org