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Students at South Oldham High School are changing the world one pair of shoes at a time, after learning that 600 million people around the world are affected by diseases including hookworm, a deadly disease caused by walking barefoot in contaminated areas.
Millions of children are without shoes, including 20 million in sub-Saharan Africa alone.
In America, more than 300 million pairs of shoes are tossed in landfills each year.
Soles4Souls is a non-profit organization that prevents and solves these issues. They dedicate their time collecting shoes to give relief to the victims of abject suffering and poverty.
Shoes collected by South Oldham High School students are sent to a new owner; one who perhaps has never owned a pair of shoes in their life.
It all began in 2004 when the tsunami struck Southeast Asia.
The founder and CEO of Soles4Souls Inc., Wayne Elsey, felt compelled to do something.
This triggered many calls to various executives in the shoe industry and provided Elsey with a quarter of a million shoes to donate to victims in devastated countries.
Soles4Souls also helped individuals left without their belongings after Hurricane Katrina devastated parts of Mississippi and Louisiana.
Soles4Souls receives large donations from footwear companies, retailers, churches, nonprofit ministries, civic groups, schools and individuals who want to help.
Over the past six years, shoes have been sent to 129 different countries, some of which include Iraq, Kenya, India, or Afghanistan. All in all, Soles4Souls has been able to donate more than 16 million pairs of shoes since 2004.
Recently, South Oldham High School’s Family Career and Community Leaders of America student organization conducted a shoe drive to help with Soles4Souls.
In just two weeks, the students collected more than 200 pairs of shoes.
Students in Robin Krause’s sixth-period class earned first place in the shoe drive and Rachel Salyer’s class earned second place.
If you are interested in donating new or gently used shoes, you can ship them to one of Soles4Souls’ various warehouses.
For warehouse locations and general information, visit