Every year Americans throw out around 68 pounds of textiles per person. Shoes and clothes are filling landfills, while there are people all over the world struggling to get to work or to school because they have to walk barefoot or in shoes in poor condition.
Soles4Souls is a non-profit organization that’s distributed 26 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries since 2006.
They were founded in 2004 as a disaster relief group made up of philanthropists and shoe executives, providing shoes to those impacted by the Indian Ocean Tsunami. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the group got together again to respond to the crisis. In 2006, the group became an official nonprofit organization, helping those in need year round. They also continue to be second wave responders to natural disasters all over the world.
The main mission of Soles4Souls is to combat poverty by collecting and distributing shoes across the globe. Their vision is to eliminate extreme poverty by 2050.
“This is one of the most exciting organizations I have ever been associated with,” said Buddy Teaster, president and CEO of Soles4Souls in his biography on the Soles4Souls website.
We have a great team and a growing, passionate group of supporters and donors around the country and the world. We’re doing work that really matters and I look forward to doing my part to help even more people regain their dignity and break the cycle of poverty.”
Last week fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi tabled every day, taking donations to give to Soles4Souls. They received donations from all different organzations on campus, both Greek and non-Greek.
“We deliver the shoes to a warehouse in Santa Rosa who works hand in hand with the organization Soles4Souls,” sophomore Nathan Shapiro, AEPi’s philanthropy chair said.
At their table they had a game of cornhole that many students passing by between classes joined in on. When Chancellor Timothy White visited Sonoma State, he joined in on the fun as well.
This was the first time that Alpha Epsilon Pi has put on this philanthropy and they received nearly 200 donations during the week.
Alpha Epsilon Pi will be continuing to collect donations for another week. They will be tabling outside of the Student Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Nathan Shapiro is a staff writer for the Sonoma State Star.