Soles 4 Souls

Ariana Beedie

Children benefit from donations.
Children benefit from donations.

Sophomore graphic design major Megan Lengacher sponsors Ben, a 14-year-old child in need, through an organization helping cultures around the world.

Soles 4 Souls works as a non-profit organization accepting donations of clothes and shoes. The organization keeps a “ready inventory” to be distributed in countries and areas of need.

“I went to the site and registered,” she said. “You pledge to go barefoot that day and the company emails a card with a person’s story.”

On Oct. 10, Soles 4 Souls challenged people around the country to walk barefoot for another person in need. According to their website, about 300 million children go without shoes every day.

Lengacher walked barefoot through campus and housing  to raise awareness on the organization.

“The movement is a good way to get the message across,” Lengacher said. “We don’t realize how much we take for granted.”

Walking barefoot for one day is hard, she said.

Lengacher designs shoes for students under the name, “Bless My Soles.”

“Shoes are a huge thing for me,” she said. “It’s a shoe designer giving back.”

She said it would be cool to have a shoe drive on campus.

Soles 4 Souls started in 2004 with headquarters in Nashville. The organization receives millions of shoes and articles of clothing every day.

Rebecca Cicione, media manager for Soles 4 Souls, said the organization is fighting poverty through these donations.

“We take donations from anyone,” she said. “Universities, elementary schools, churches or individuals.”

Shoe companies and retail stores send Soles 4 Souls older, unsold items to aid the cause.

“Sketchers and Puma are our biggest donors,” Cicione said.

Soles 4 Souls takes items and donates them directly to countries including Haiti, Tanzania, Honduras and Jamaica.

“We work with individuals in market places there,” she said. “We give shoes to them and give them shoes to sell, also.”

It helps with their economy and jobs, she said.

Other than the countries Soles 4 Souls directly travels to, they affiliate with 127 non-profit organizations.

“From each partner we require feedback,” Cicione said. “After 40 days, they are urged to send photos and reports, and those are posted to our blog.”