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Volunteer Travel With Soles 4 Souls

Haiti: Soles 4 Souls

300 million children around the world do not have footwear. Soles 4 Souls is that organization you’ve likely heard of, going into areas of need and delivering millions of shoes (and now clothes) to those that have none. They have been committed to saving the world, one pair at a time, since launching in response to the 2004 Southeast Asia tsunami. While the founders come from a faith-based tradition of service, the organization is non-denominational and steadfast in serving anyone regardless of religion, race, sex, or any variable–a person in need is a person in need.

Soles 4 Souls, as part of their delivery of shoes to impoverished communities, makes volunteer travel, as part of their team, available to folks like you and me. Their Travel With Us program involves 15-25 volunteers on a distribution team, and the not-exorbitant-at-all prices include a percentage of the cost of transporting the shoes and clothes, your airfare from a designated US connection city (for international trips), accommodations, meals, ground transportation, security, project supplies, insurance, translators, and country entry and exit fees if applicable. Costs vary depending on which distribution trip you jump on, to places like Haiti, India, Peru, Honduras, Tanzania, and Costa Rica. It’s hard work and long days, but incredibly rewarding as you will work one-on-one fitting the proper size shoe to kids who may have never owned a pair…and seeing the pride of getting new shoes, along with the health benefits and comfort that come with foot protection, will send you home with memories you never dreamed you’d have.

Change the World One Pair at a Time

As I get closer to booking travel to Haiti to do a volunteer gig, I’m paying even more attention to other organizations that are on the ground there, starting the long hard efforts of recovery and rebuilding.

Soles 4 Souls is an organization that collects gently used as well as new shoes from distributors and private citizens, and distributes them in nations of need. Their work in Haiti since the January earthquakes has helped protect the feet of thousands of Haitians, as well as additional philanthropic work done by the organization, including a shelter for displaced residents built from discarded shipping containers. It is a definite step up from tents or tarps. The great thing about Soles 4 Souls is that you can travel with them, not just for shoes distribution, but for additional service project work as well. The trips that are open to international volunteers can be found here. There are several Haiti trips upcoming as well as Mexico and Honduras. SO think about getting out into the big ol world this summer or fall, and making a direct difference…one pair, one person, at a time.

Don’t Tread on Me

FamilyWShoesLRSoles4Souls is a charity putting shoes on the feet of needy kids and aduts across America and farther afield. They’re happy to take the donation of your new or gently used shoes and will give them to folks without shoes in disaster regions and particularly oppressed or financially struggling zones (from poverty pockets of New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, etc to Honduras, Mexico, and more).

In addition to accepting donations of revenue or shoes, they will help you arrange shoe donations, events, and drops in your area, and inspired volunteers can even travel with the organization for “shoe drops” to hand them out.

They currently work in 45 of the United States as well as 61 other countries. There are millions of people whose health and well-being could be improved by the simple protection of foot covering. Cuts, abrasions, burns, infection. How much do we take the old pairs kicking around our closets for granted? How many pairs of flip flops do we need? Just because those running shoes don’t put the spring in your step any more and you’ve replaced them, they can still keep glass and rocks from ripping into another’s toes and heels.

Soles4Souls makes it easy with drop off centers and mailing options, and your donations are tax-deductible.

What a concept to potentially see the corner of your closet again…and change some lives while you’re at it.

These boots were made for walking (not collecting dust).