We look for creative ways to reduce waste and positively impact the world around us. In early November, we launched a drive with the goal of collecting 100 pairs of new and used shoes from our employees. The shoes we collected were delivered to Soles4Souls–a non-profit that creates sustainable jobs and provides relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world. Founded in 2006, the organization has distributed more than 30 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries.
Supporting organizations like Souls4Souls is a no brainer for us. In addition to helping people around the world by reusing and recycling shoes, their efforts also help reduce textile waste that otherwise ends up in landfills. According to Souls4Souls, every person in American throws away more than 68 pounds of textiles per year. More than 900 million people around the world live in extreme poverty and many of those people don’t have access to adequate footwear. 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.
Soles4Souls converts every used pair of shoes collected into a value-added social currency to achieve positive change, both humanitarian and economic. Most of the gently used shoes are distributed to microenterprise programs that create jobs in Haiti and other poor nations. The resulting revenue helps fund the free distribution of new shoes in the U.S., Canada and developing nations around the world.
The simple truth is that almost anyone with a closet has shoes they don’t wear, or an old pair that will just end up in a landfill. By collecting and donating those shoes to Souls4Souls, we taking steps to making the world a better place for all of us.