Titans Fans are asked to "STEP UP," Clean Out their Closets and Recycle their Gently Worn Shoes
"We can use the shoes taking up space in your closet to change the world one pair at a time," says Wayne Elsey, the Founder and CEO of Soles4Souls™ Inc., who is accustomed to seeing 32,000 pairs of shoes come in and out of the charity's warehouses each week. "We need our partners in our hometown of Nashville to 'STEP UP' and get behind our call for action. It's one of the most simple yet profound gifts you can make, because it will greatly improve someone's life in the most difficult of times."
The mission of Soles4Souls is to impact as many lives as possible with the gift of shoes. Currently, there are over 300 million children and 1.5 billion adults worldwide who are without footwear. A decent pair of footwear can help prevent puncture wounds, worms, disease and even amputation. It can lead to education opportunities for children and employment prospects for adults. The gift of shoes is profound for victims of natural disasters and those living in abject poverty. The charity's mission is the primary reason behind its success.
This drive is the first of the Titans annual stadium drive collections for the 2009 season. Additional drives will follow, including collections of undergarments for a women's shelter, school supplies, cell phones, coats, food, baby items and toys to benefit various non-profit agencies and those in need.
In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami that hit Southeast Asia, Wayne Elsey, the Founder and CEO of Soles4Souls™ Inc., felt compelled to do something. Like many of us, he did not know what to do. He was at home one night watching TV and he saw a picture of a single shoe washing up on the beach. That triggered a few calls to some other executives in the footwear industry and the subsequent donation of a quarter of a million shoes to victims in the devastated countries. A year later when Katrina hit, Wayne called the same group of friends, and they sent three-quarters of a million shoes down to the gulf coast communities affected by the hurricane. In all honesty, he admits that he did not expect such an immediate and successful turnout. This left him wondering, why not start a non-profit and do this all the time? One year later, Soles4Souls was formally created.
Nashville-based Soles4Souls™ facilitates the donations of both new and used shoes, which are used to aid the hurting worldwide. Soles4Souls has distributed more than 5 million pairs (currently donating one pair every 13 seconds) to people in over 125 countries, including Honduras, Uganda, Romania, and the United States. The charity has been featured recently in Runner's World and the Green Guide by National Geographic. They have also appeared on CNN, NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS and hundreds of regional outlets around North America. Soles4Souls is a 501(c)(3) recognized by the IRS; donating parties are eligible for tax advantages. Visit www.giveshoes.org