In 2011, Pat in La Porte Indiana began collecting shoes from associates and the community for the Soles4Souls shoe recycling program.
Soles4Souls is a shoe charity dedicated to recycling shoes for people in need, and since 2005, has delivered over 17 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes. The organization’s founder, Wayne Elsey, formed the organization after watching the aftermath of the 2004 tsuanami of Southeast Asia. “He was at home one night, watching TV and he saw a picture of a single shoe washing up on the beach.” Now Soles4Souls donates shoes to 127 countries worldwide. Shoe donations protect health and allow children to attend schools.
This year, at Pat’s urging, we expanded the drive companywide. In La Porte, we collected 675 pairs of shoes, partially with the help of a nearby school. Pat advertised the shoe drive in the local newspaper. Families with children from Handley School saw the article, and the children in one class organized their own shoe drive and brought shoes to our plant in La Porte. Handley School is one of the schools that American Licorice gave school supplies to at the beginning of the 2011 school year.
Union City showed their usual enthusiasm for recycling and collecting items for people in need, donating 267 pairs of shoes, and in Bend, we communicated the shoe drive to our neighbors in Northwest Crossing who helped us collect 42 pairs of shoes. In total we donated 984 pairs of shoes.