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8 Columbia Heating Up Footwear Business 44 In the Studio


With Kooba



Whiz Kids Advanced performance features aren’t just for grown-ups. Athletic brands are also bringing cutting-edge technology to a younger audience. Here, K-SWISS’ sneaker with exible Blade-Light outsole and SAUCONY’s running style with non-visible grid for heel cushioning.





FN & Soles4Souls present

n The Great America

Approx. 6,000 miles

Shoe Drive

26 cities

15,000 + pairs of shoes

Heart & Soles

The Great American Shoe Drive Brings Extraordinary People Together In 2004, Wayne Elsey was at home watching a TV news report about the earthquake and tsunami that had just hit Southeast Asia. A mind-numbing 300,000 people would die and more than a million and a half would be displaced, but it was the sight of a single shoe floating in the water that stirred Elsey. “That wouldn’t really affect the average person, but I’d been in the shoe business for 25 years so it did affect me, and I thought to myself, ‘if you don’t do something about this then you’re a fool.’” Soon, he was on the phone calling other footwear executives and asking for help, thinking he might collect

2,500-3,000 pairs of shoes to send to the survivors. He was wrong. Eight weeks later, Elsey arranged for a quarter-million shoes to be shipped to the affected area and Soles4Souls (S4S) was born. Just six years later, the non-profit has given more than 12 million pairs of shoes to people in 127 countries. But, says Elsey, “the need is huge and not just overseas. Hurricane Katrina made me realize that if we can do this for people on the other side of the world then we can do it for America.” That recognition led to the Great American Shoe Drive. “You don’t have to look very far to find a hurting person,” says Keith



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! o g , t e s , Ready Woodley, Soles4Souls’ Chief Development Officer. Elsey agrees. The non-profit’s founder also feels that many people in need don’t get the attention they deserve and his goal with the Great American Shoe Drive – an RV traveling coast to coast, with volunteers giving shoes out along the way – was to remedy that. “We call them the ‘forgotten people,’” says Elsey. “They’re the ones you don’t hear a lot about on the news, but they matter, too.” The organization’s commitment to this group isn’t going to end just because the drive is over. “We’re going to go back to these locations to give away as many shoes as are needed. There’s nobody forgotten in our world. We’re committed to making a long-term sustainable difference. This is only the beginning of that effort.” Soles4Souls is also committed to engaging the next generation. Woodley lived that promise by taking his six-year-old daughter Myla along when he piloted the drive’s RV. Like her dad, Myla was impressed, moved and inspired by the experience.

START! Salt Lake City, UT

What Soles4Souls and the Great American Shoe Drive have achieved is remarkable, but it hasn’t changed Elsey’s perspective one bit from that day when he saw the single shoe floating in the tsunami’s wake. “The world’s problems seem so huge, and they are. But people can make a difference with a simple gesture. Our motto is ‘changing the world, one pair at a time’ and we really believe that’s doable.”

Getting Started The day before the Summer Outdoor Retailer Show opened, people were hustling to set up their displays. More than 500 tons of crates were stacked in the back, waiting to be delivered to the showroom floor. Everyone struggled to lift heavy boxes filled with mannequins, bikes, kayaks and, of course, shoes. Meanwhile, outside under the blazing sun, Keith Woodley, and Silvana and Allan Clark, who spearheaded the first leg of the drive, worked to get all the corporate logos prominently displayed on the Great American Shoe Drive (GASD) RV. Soon they would be seen by thousands and thousands of people across the United States.

to thrive in America after the U.S. government has granted permission for them to enter the country to seek safety and freedom. The refugees step off the plane with almost nothing but their dignity, hope and determination, and the IRC helps them rebuild their lives. Silvana was touched by one client, in particular: a woman who spent 20 of her 72 years in a resettlement camp and now was committed to learning English. One volunteer also stood out. At nine-yearsold, she was the youngest – and everyone agreed – the cutest, by far. She and her mother had fled Eritrea and lived for years in a resettlement camp before arriving in Salt Lake a month earlier. Silvana loved her enthusiasm and desire to learn English as she helped set up the shoes. Although she

August 3, Salt Lake City, UT International Rescue Committee The GASD’s first stop was the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Salt Lake City, where a long line of refugees, many in native clothing, waited patiently in line. The IRC provides opportunities for refugees

FN & Soles4Souls present

The Great American

Shoe Drive

“ASICS was honored to participate in the Great American Shoe Drive,” says Gary Slayton, VP of Marketing Communications. “Partnering with Soles4Souls and Footwear News allowed us an opportunity to provide much-needed footwear to communities around the United States. ASICS believes in giving back to the communities we live in and do business in and Soles4Souls has been an amazing partner over the years to help reach those in need of footwear.”


Soles4Souls 4 FN & Soles4Souls present

The Great American

Shoe Drive

Las Vegas, NV Pasadena, CA arrived wearing stiff, ill-fitting shoes, she skipped out of the room wearing sparkly pink sneakers that fit! Natalie El-Deiry, the IRC’s Development Manager, couldn’t have been happier. “We were really impressed with Silvana and Allan Clark’s energy and enthusiasm. They made everything so easy for us.”

August 4, Salt Lake City, UT Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf The Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf (SLCAD) is an advocacy agency that meets the needs of deaf, deaf/blind and hard-of-hearing victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. In contrast to the refugee center, which was very loud as people spoke across the room in their native languages, SLCAD was completely quiet as people used their hands to sign. With the help of two interpreters, team members were able to fit the men, women and children in attendance, and everyone had a great time matching shoes with each person’s personality. One woman entered the room with great spunk and left with a pair of sparkling pink shoes, another had a job where she needed dressier shoes, but couldn’t afford to buy a pair. The slip-on shoes donated by Jellypop were perfect for her. “You gave our clients something very special,” one of the center’s staffers told the team.

“You gave our clients something very special.” — SLCAD Staffer

social recreation services that make their clients’ lives more productive and interesting. Upon arrival, some clients chatted about their favorite shoe styles and how they wanted cool shoes for an upcoming dance. Others needed a full-time aide so volunteers selected shoes that fit. One client, a 28-year-old man who’s had leukemia his entire life, gave a big smile after being fitted with a size 14 shoe. The staff told the team that his mother would be thrilled that he has new shoes in such a difficult-to-find size.

Stephanie Fisca, Opportunity Village’s Assistant Director of Advocacy & Support Services, was pleased because “by donating 250 pairs of shoes, many of them orthopedic, the Great American Shoe Drive helped our clients tremendously.” Unfortunately, not everyone in attendance was lucky that day. By the end of the day, it was clear that about 40 people would go home without new shoes because the shoe they wanted wasn’t available in their size. Not to worry! Wayne Elsey wanted the shoe drive to be as “customer-driven” as possible so the GASD took orders and, just a couple of weeks later, all 40 people received the shoes they liked best in their size.

August 16 – 20, Las Vegas, NV

August 23, Pasadena, CA

Opportunity Village


Over the course of a few days, the GASD team visited two Opportunity Village locations in Las Vegas. Serving more than 1,000 people with intellectual disabilities, Opportunity Village offers vocational training, employment and

For many kids, summer means hanging out with friends and family vacations. The children at Hillsides spend their summers – and the school year – living in a residential treatment center under the care of trained staff devoted to helping them

“We’ve been involved with Soles4Souls from the beginning,” says Jim Salzano, interim president of Clarks Companies North America, “so sponsoring the Great American Shoe Drive is a natural extension of our relationship” with the non-profit. “Plus, while much of the good work they – and other organizations – do is focused outside the U.S., the shoe drive helps us all recognize that many of the same problems you see abroad exist here at home, too.” Salzano defines Clarks’ commitment to good works as “part of the company’s heritage. The Clarks Company has always cared for their employees and for the community. We feel an inherent responsibility to do the right thing.” The company’s charitable initiatives extend beyond Soles4Souls and the shoe drive and include support for the Two Ten Footwear Foundation, which provides assistance and support services to people in the footwear industry who are experiencing difficult times, and Triangle, a non-profit in Malden, MA, that offers employment training and other services to people with disabilities. In addition, the company has its own foundation, which provides needsbased scholarships for students attending vocational schools. Salzano stresses that the motivation for the largesse is “not marketing. We do things quietly. If people find out, that’s great, but that’s not what drives us. It’s our culture.”


Soles4Souls 6

Phoenix, AZ

to heal and rebuild trusting relationships with adults. Founded 97 years ago, Hillsides’ mission is to create safe places for children, strengthen families, provide special education and advocate for children’s rights. With a staff-to-child ratio that’s nearly oneto-one, the room selected for the shoe distribution quickly became crowded. The team learned about one scared eight-year-old girl who arrived at the center last Halloween carrying all her possessions

Phoenix/Mesa, AZ

Florence Crittenton are in that situation because they’ve moved so many times from foster homes to group homes and back again that they’re far behind their peers academically. Florence Crittenton has served the state’s youth and their families for more than a century. Offering a full range of care designed to help at-risk girls overcome issues of abuse, neglect,

“These shoes are hip and cool – I didn’t know shoes could be this comfortable!” — A child at Hillsides

in a brown paper bag and wearing one slipper and one flip-flop. Never having dressed up or gone trick-or-treating, she didn’t understand why the other children wore costumes. The good news is that, today, she’s adjusting well and benefitting from being around people who care and provide for her. The GASD team felt honored to play a role in making this young girl’s life better. “We’ve had donations before,” said Laura Kelso, Director of Community Resources, Hillsides, “but never had anything like the Great American Shoe Drive. The shoes were hip and cool and one of the kids commented ‘I didn’t know shoes could be this comfortable!’”

teen pregnancy, teen parenting and behavioral and/or mental health problems, the non-profit also delivers charter education for high school students and community-based services for youth and families. Girls live in residential group homes, transitional living quarters or at a girls’ ranch. The shoe distribution went perfectly; the staff was especially excited about getting athletic shoes since the girls need those for gym class and sports programs.

August 26, Phoenix/Mesa, AZ North American Mission Board

August 26, Phoenix, AZ Florence Crittenton Can you imagine being in high school and reading at a kindergarten level? Several students at

Many people think of ministers preparing sermons and taking care of church members, but Louis Spears, who has been a Southern Baptist pastor for 30 years and a North American Mission Board

“Soles4Souls is a great charity that fits really well with our Dearfoams brand,” says Nancy Coons, senior vice president of the R.G. Barry Corporation and president of the Dearfoams division. “The Great American Shoe Drive enabled us to provide what Dearfoams stands for, which is comfort.” According to Coons, the company “feels it’s very important to give back” and works with a wide FN & Soles4Souls variety of charities, including the present Susan B. Komen Foundation, the an ic er The Great Am March of Dimes, Habitat for Humanity, the Arthritis Foundation and Autism Speaks, as well as Big Brothers/Big Sisters and various local charities in cities where Dearfoams associates live.” The

Shoe Drive

missionary for six, takes care of families in numerous low-income communities across the Phoenix/Mesa area. He arranged a wonderful shoe distribution that included 6-foot-long sandwiches, popcorn, ice cream, drawings for fully stocked backpacks and crafts for kids. More than 300 people showed up. His hard work paid off as many thankful parents expressed how much they appreciated the new shoes.

“[They] normally would get handme-downs, but these shoes were new and really high quality.” — Louis Spears, North American Mission Board

company also supports the Make-A-Wish and Two Ten foundations, the Red Cross and the United Negro College Fund. Dearfoams’ commitment extends to helping employees in their efforts to do good, says Coons. “Each quarter, we volunteer one day for a charitable project and all team members are given time off to participate.” Coons appreciates organizations like Soles4Souls and the Two Ten Foundation because they provide comfort to people in crisis. “Efforts like these are in our company’s DNA and our participation helps support the values we work and live by.”


Soles4Souls 8 Albuquerque, NM

FN & Soles4Souls

Pasadena, TX


The Great American

Shoe Drive

Plano, TX “Everything about the shoe drive was terrific,” said pastor Spears. “The children who benefited normally would get hand-me-downs, but these shoes were new and really high quality.”

August 27, Albuquerque, NM Boys and Girls Club Known as “The Positive Place For Kids,” the Boys and Girls Club of Albuquerque takes its mission – to enable all young people, especially those who need them most, to reach their full potential as

kids love to jump and holler so Allan built several kick boards and made a game out of “winning” a pair of flips-flops. At one end of each board, he placed a flip-flop. Kids were invited to “stomp” on the other end, which propelled the flip-flop into the air. If they caught it, they won it (and its mate). Everyone got as many do-overs as they needed to take a new pair of flip-flops home along with their new pair of shoes.

September 3, Plano, TX Collin County Children’s Advocacy Center

productive, caring, responsible citizens – very seriously. Offering after-school care, programs for school breaks, career exploration and mentoring, the club helps children gain competence, usefulness, a sense of belonging and positive self-esteem. On the day the shoe drive came to town, many kids arrived early. With help from several board members, the GASD team enthusiastically fitted more than 150 kids with new shoes. One mom with three sons made an extra effort to track the team down to say thanks. The Puma shoes were especially popular! Allan Clark came up with a great idea to add some fun to the proceedings. Everyone knows

The mission of the Collin County Children’s Advocacy Center (CCCAC) is to identify, protect and improve the lives of abused and neglected children. Working with a multi-disciplinary team to investigate, treat and prosecute child abuse cases within the county, the CCCAC provides a safe place for children to tell their stories and begin to heal. The team gave new shoes to two sisters who had been removed from their home because their parents didn’t feed them or send them to school. One four-year-old came to the center at night. Her meager belongings didn’t include anything to sleep in so the staff set her up with some cozy PJs. She had no idea what pajamas were because this was her first pair ever. One four-year-old told the team he wore, “Size eleven hundred.” Fortunately, there just happened to be a size eleven hundred to fit him! The foster parents (many of whom were biological grandparents) were very appreciative of the new shoes.

September 7, Pasadena, TX The Bridge Over Troubled Waters Hop online and take a quick look at the lyrics of Simon & Garfunkle’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” You’ll see why it’s the perfect name for the non-profit in Pasadena, Texas, that provides support services to adults and children in crisis, particularly those who’ve been affected by domestic violence, sexual assault or homelessness. To protect its clients, Bridge has a “secret” shelter so the RV parked at a distance. Staffer Janelle Eaton helped set up the distribution and everything ran like clockwork as more than 70 women and their children were fitted with new shoes in less than an hour. One mother, who had come to the shelter looking for help in escaping an abusive situation, arrived with a sleeping baby in a stroller and her 10-year-old

“The Great American Shoe Drive is the right idea at the right time,” says Mike Vincent, global COO for Dr. Martens. “We’re excited and honored to be a sponsor, which is why we contributed more than 500 pairs of boots and shoes to the tour on top of thousands of pairs we donated this year to Soles4Souls.” The drive is just one of the charitable initiatives the company is engaged in. “Locally, we support the Oregon Food Bank, which distributes food to hungerrelief agencies throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington and provides education and advocacy to its low-income participants. Since 2006, we – and our employees – have contributed more than 23 tons of food and over $60,000 in donations,” says Vincent. To encourage employees to do their part, Dr. Martens has “DMAid, a program which allows staff to take days off to volunteer for a charity that’s meaningful to them. Not everyone knows what they’d like to do so we invite local charities to provide ideas for those unsure about how best to spend their volunteer time.” The benefits of Dr. Martens charitable activities are clear to Vincent. “We believe in our company and our product and a large reason for that is because we know we’re part of an organization that gives back. We believe, as Henry Ford said, ‘a business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.’”


Soles4Souls 10 New Orleans, LA Lafayette, LA

Houston, TX

daughter. The daughter was thrilled with her new shoes and showed everyone how she could stand on her toes á la Michael Jackson. Another woman whispered, “I pulled these flip-flops out of the garbage and they are the only shoes I own.” The team quickly fitted her with a sturdy pair of Asics athletic shoes. The team was particularly touched by a woman who told them about the difference the shoes would make to her kids. “When I thought

“My kids only had flip-flops on when we fled our home, and they don’t meet dress code. I didn’t know what I was going to do. Then the shoe drive came and took that concern from me.”

delivery was 2,500 pairs of flip-flops and 80 pairs of shoes. As fate would have it, Hurricane Hermine was showing herself with huge winds and a downpour so heavy that water was pouring down onto the shelter from the freeway overpasses. Undeterred, the team decided if weather can’t put off the postal service then it shouldn’t stop the Great American Shoe Drive.

faith-based programs. All three of them kept saying how “honored” they were to have the GASD come, but the GASD team thought the retailers should be the honorees. A steady stream of customers stopped by to drop off shoes and a radio station was there for three hours, doing a remote broadcast and interviewing the GASD team.

September 12, Lafayette, LA

September 13, New Orleans, LA

Acadiana Outreach Center

Crescent House

The GASD team worked with retailer Brother’s on the Boulevard on a shoe distribution like none other. Store founder Brother Abdalla and his wife Catherine showed Southern hospitality while their publicist Aimee Prewitt organized an event that included a tent, pizza, sandwiches, cookies, fruit and plenty of water. Abdalla, Catherine and Aimee helped the team donate 600 pairs of shoes to clients served by Acadiana Outreach Center, which helps people in need find housing, employment and addiction treatment through

— A Bridge Over Troubled Waters client

With the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, many families in the New Orleans area faced additional stress in their lives. Unfortunately, this stress resulted in more women being battered. That’s where Crescent House comes in. They provide free case management and intervention services for children, including music, art, and play therapy to break the cycle of abuse. The shelter is housed in a large distinguishedlooking home that gives a feeling of warmth and coziness. Staffer Jennifer Taylor helped fit the

about school starting I felt so anxious. My kids only had flip-flops on when we fled our home, and they don’t meet dress code. I didn’t know what I was going to do. Then the shoe drive came and took that concern from me.”

September 7, Houston, TX Star of Hope The team’s next stop was Star of Hope, a big homeless shelter in downtown Houston, and the

“Our company’s been very successful for more than 45 years,” says Jim Maloney, Impo International’s vice president of marketing and global production, “so we look for meaningful ways to give back. The Great American Shoe Drive was a perfect opportunity to do just that.” In addition to their sponsorship, Impo also donated shoes: a dress/casual FN & Soles4Souls sling and two dress/casual boots. “These styles fulfill the basic need for footwear, present but also help someone dress for an The Great American important meeting or interview,” says Maloney. Impo also supports their local firefighters and sheriff’s department, the Special Olympics, teen youth groups, as

Shoe Drive

well as the March of Dimes, Jackets for Jobs, Altrusa International, Ohio University Cancer Research, Operation Katrina, the Two Ten Footwear Foundation, Heroes at Home and a national after-school program. That’s not all. “We’re very proud of our employees’ efforts to raise money for the victims of the massive earthquake in China’s Qinghai Province last April. On top of a corporate donation, a grass-roots effort started in China and spread throughout the company, reflecting a strong emotional connection to the people suffering.” Maloney says that “despite our size and success, we’ve never lost the feeling that we’re one big family. We care about our employees, their families and the communities we all live and work in. Giving back is something we all believe in; it’s important to us.”


Soles4Souls 12 FN & Soles4Souls present

Atlanta, GA Columbus, GA Mobile, AL

residents and their children with new shoes. One resident came to the distribution, hoping we would have a “dressier” shoe for her upcoming job interview. Luckily, the team found the perfect pair.

September 17, Mobile, AL Boys and Girls Club

For 47 years, Valley Rescue Mission has worked to help homeless, needy and addicted people reenter society as productive, contributing citizens, a goal that’s not always easily accomplished. The team was able to give new men’s, women’s and children’s shoes to Rhonda’s clients. She was especially happy to

Imagine an afternoon spent in a gym with 250 energetic kids. That was no problem for the dedicated staff and volunteers that helped with the Great American Shoe Drive at the Mobile Boys

receive several pairs of Yellow Box shoes, which were “dressier” and could be used by women going to job interviews. and Girls Club, where kids arrived for an afternoon of wild relay races and new shoes. While the kids were certainly noisy, it was a positive kind of noise as they ran relay races involving eggs, balls, balloons and other fun props. Board members helped the team fit all the children with shoes. Staff told the team about one boy involved with their program for more than eight years. “David” was eight when his father was killed in a car accident. Not long after, he started acting out, but fortunately became involved with the Club, where a volunteer pastor mentored him. David flourished and developed strong leadership traits. Then, last year, his mentor died suddenly. Using what his role model taught him, David today mentors other young boys. His good work helped make him Alabama’s Club Member of the Year. Even more impressive, he’s earned more than $14,000 in scholarships because of his leadership efforts with the Boys and Girls Clubs.

September 19, Columbus, GA Valley Rescue Mission In Columbus, the team met Rhonda Mobley, executive director of Valley Rescue Mission.

September 21, Atlanta, GA Atlanta Day Shelter Imagine you’re a homeless woman with a baby and a toddler. In the evening, you and your children sleep at a women’s shelter, but you have to leave in the morning and can’t return until 5:00 pm. Where do you go all day with two young children and no money? Answer: the Atlanta Day Shelter. Not only do they serve breakfast and lunch, but they also provide computer training, help with career search and activities for children. One woman left an abusive situation in Nevada and moved to Atlanta. When staff heard she was a registered nurse, they asked why she wasn’t applying for a nursing job.

The Great American

Shoe Drive

For Jennet Chow, founder of Evolution Design Lab, the decision to sponsor the Great American Shoe Drive has personal roots. “Our family business started off very humbly, so I grew up in a neighborhood where people were less fortunate. Shoes aren’t only about fashion. They’re a basic need. We were proud to be a sponsor and donate shoes to the Great American Shoe Drive because shoes bring joy to people who cannot afford this necessity.” Locally, EDL sponsored Make-a-Mark, an empowerment event for mothers and daughters, and works to raise funds for public schools, the Girl Scouts and shelters for abused mothers and children. Taking a suggestion from an employee, EDL partnered with CAST – the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking – to present “Conquer,” a special-edition gladiator sandal with a portion of the proceeds donated to CAST. EDL has also worked with QVC on breast cancer awareness while the company’s Jellypop brand supported Soles4Souls’ Haiti relief efforts with a donation of 2,200 pairs of shoes. Chow describes herself as “proud that EDL has a corporate culture that emphasizes teamwork, humility, respect for others and creativity. We strive to reflect these values not only in our operations, but also through serving the community. For those who do well, giving back to the community is an obligation, but it’s more. It’s a privilege.”


Soles4Souls 14 New York City, NY Charlotte, NC

“I don’t have the $145 it takes to transfer my nursing license to Georgia,” she explained. Within a few days, Atlanta Day Shelter paid her transfer fee so she could get a job. The team met another woman who was close to getting a job at a local restaurant. “We need solid black shoes as part of our uniform,” she said. “And I only own these blue shoes.” In just a few minutes, the team found her the perfect black shoes.

September 24, Charlotte, NC

Washington, DC

women had toddlers and were also pregnant. They were a quiet group, without the usual smiles the team saw at other distributions. It seemed almost as if they had seen too much sorrow in their young lives. Hopefully, the Great American Shoe Drive showed them people cared about them and their children.

September 29, Washington, DC Boys and Girls Club Imagine having a busy day at school, then taking a one-hour bus ride, standing in line for a pair of

Urban Restoration Charlotte’s Urban Restoration provides an array of evangelistic, educational, athletic, counseling and social services to more than 20,000 people each year. Silvana and Allan Clark found that everything

shoes, then taking the hour-long bus ride back home. That was how hundreds of kids spent the day when the GASD came to Washington, DC The good news is that the team was able to make sure all those kids were fitted with new shoes in the style of their choice once they arrived at the Boys and Girls Club. Staff hugged and kissed team members because they were so happy “their kids” got new shoes. Minnetonka contributed incredibly popular boots and moccasins. One girl who wore a size 9 wanted the Minnetonka boots so badly that she crammed her foot into size 6 and said proudly “these fit perfect!” Kids waited in line outside a room with a window, which heightened the anticipation as they watched other kids get their shoes. Several times, the lady at the front desk told the team how happy everyone was as they left the building wearing or

“I had to fight back tears because it’s so overwhelming.” — Event Organizer, Washington D.C. Boys & Girls Club

carrying their new shoes. The event organizer told the team, “I had to fight back tears because it’s overwhelming that the Great American Shoe Drive is giving these kids something they desperately need.”

October 2, New York City, NY Safe Horizon The Great American Shoe Drive team experienced another “first” the first week in October as they arrived at Safe Horizon, a day shelter for homeless teens and young adults. It was “injectors” day. Safe Horizon is the only program on the East Coast where teens and young adults can

from the up-to-date bulletin boards to detailed activity schedules for children’s programs had a first-class appearance. Executive Director Colin Pinkney arranged for the team to give shoes to teen mothers who are living in a home-like shelter. Several of these

“We always welcome opportunities to contribute to worthwhile causes,” says Martin Berman, managing director of Micro-Pak Ltd., which works in packaging materials for shoes, apparel, bags and accessories. “We’ve always been impressed with Soles4Souls and thought the Great American Shoe Drive was an excellent opportunity to provide FN & Soles4Souls assistance to people in need.” Founded in 1998, Micro-Pak “has present been involved with charitable endeavors The Great American from day one,” says Berman. “Fortunately, our business has grown nicely so we’ve been able to increase our charitable activities.”

Shoe Drive

In addition to supporting Soles4Souls, Micro-Pak also contributes to the Two Ten Foundation; FACE, which works to bring positive change to the lives of needy children in China; Citizen Effect, which provides people with the tools and networks they need to work directly with communities in need; and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Plus, says Berman, “we welcome suggestions from our customers of worthwhile causes where we can lend a hand.” In Berman’s view, “helping those in need is a basic obligation for any person. But more than an obligation, it should be a source of great pleasure. What could be more worthwhile than assisting someone in need?”


Soles4Souls 16 FN & Soles4Souls present

The Great American

Jersey City, NJ

exchange their used needles for new ones. Everyone that comes is HIV-positive, most of the young adults are street homeless, which means they sleep on the streets rather than at shelters or with friends. The team met Ben, who ran away from home at 17. Homeless for seven years, he spends most of his time going from place to place by jumping train cars. The team learned that, instead of hitchhiking, homeless young adults travel by train in small groups. Diagnosed with schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, Ben said he’s now mentally alert thanks to a mostly vegan diet. He calls it a “free-gan” diet because he gets his food from grocery store and restaurant dumpsters. Everyone that came to the distribution had sopping wet feet because of two days of rain in New York. Most had super thin soles on their shoes or big holes. They received new socks and new shoes. Staff told the team what a treat it was to be able to give out new items. One young girl said, “thanks for these new shoes. I’ve worn my old shoes every day for the last three years.”

October 5, Jersey City, NJ St. Lucy’s Shelter Anyone who thinks homeless people don’t have motivation or a desire to improve their lives should meet some of the people the team encountered at St. Lucy’s Shelter in Jersey City, New Jersey. There was Linda, a homeless middle-aged woman going to nursing college.

Philadelphia, PA

Paying tuition is all she can afford so she’s spending nights at the shelter while completing her training. She was thrilled when the team found a pair of blue-and-white sneakers that matched her blue uniform and fit her perfectly. The team also met a husband and wife who both had jobs, but who were living at the shelter until they saved enough money for a small apartment. Next door to St. Lucy’s is a shelter for HIVpositive men; many of them came over to replace their flip-flops with athletic shoes and boots. Over and over again, the team was impressed with the high-quality shoes that manufacturers have donated to Soles4Souls for distribution to people in need.

October 8, Philadelphia, PA Delaware Valley Veterans Home At the Delaware Valley Veterans Home, a sparkling facility run by caring professionals, the GASD team was fortunate to meet veterans – including several recipients of the Purple Heart – from World War II, the Korean War, the war in Vietnam and the first Gulf War. Full-time volunteer Jack O’Donnell kept the distribution moving by getting the residents in and out of the distribution room. “All of our veterans left satisfied and our families were thrilled because the shoes made their loved ones so happy and comfortable,” said O’Donnell. One example of that was a man who came in insisting he wore a size 9 and showing his current

Shoe Drive

"Minnetonka has been involved with Soles4Souls for over four years now,” says company President Scott Sessa, “so it was a natural fit for us to join in with this year’s Great American Shoe Drive. We recognize that there are many people who need help from programs like this. It’s gratifying to know that we can bring a little bit of comfort to them, as we know how much a decent pair of shoes can really make a difference in someone’s daily life."


Soles4Souls 18

Boston, MA

Philadelphia, PA

pair, which, indeed, was a size 9. “My feet hurt all the time when I wear these shoes,” he complained. After trying on a size 11 shoe, he said, “now I understand why my feet hurt. My toes have been curled under for years!” Many veterans had difficulty tying their shoes so slip-on and Velcro shoes were particularly welcome. An extra bonus were the wonderfully soft and comfortable slippers sent by Dearfoams. All the residents gave a sigh of “ohhhhhhh, these feel so good” as they wore their slippers.

Everything was going well until the seventh person arrived and the team wasn’t able to fit her with the shoes she wanted. “I want shoes like Amy’s,” she screamed. Yes, this adorable twoyear old saw her friend get shoes featuring Cookie Monster and, when the team told her they didn’t have them in her size, she threw a classic temper

“You brightened their day and gave them a sense of joy.”

The Great American Shoe Drive visited Methodist Children’s Services at their “campus,” which looks like an Ivy League college. After setting up the shoes, the team was open for business.

tantrum. The day was saved, however, when a pair of sparkly pink shoes, just as cute as Cookie Monster, were found. Also notable was 14-yearold Sean – a true inspiration to everyone. For several years, Sean had been homeless as he and his mom moved from place to place. They were finally accepted in the program with Methodist Children’s Services and are now living in an on-campus apartment. Sean loves acting and got accepted into a top-notch performing arts magnet school where he is doing great both academically and on stage. The home’s President & CEO Angele Marie Parker, Ph.D., was thrilled. “All of our clients were so delighted and excited, especially the little ones. You brightened their day and gave them a sense of joy. Thank you.”

October 29, Boston, MA St. Francis House When the Great American Shoe Drive arrived at Boston’s St. Francis House, the place was abuzz with activity. Inside, there was a hot

At PUMA, we believe that our position as the creative leader in sport lifestyle gives us the opportunity and the responsibility to contribute to a better world that is safer, more peaceful and a more creative world than we know today. It is with this vision that PUMA has come to partner with Soles4Souls, not only with the recent Great American Shoe Drive, but also FN & Soles4Souls with consumer and corporate initiatives we have launched with the organization present over the past few years. It is an honor The Great American to work with such a committed partner and Soles4Souls does an incredible job at providing footwear to those in need around the globe.

Shoe Drive

“...they made me feel like I matter.” — A St. Francis House client

— Angele Marie Parker, Ph.D., President & CEO, Methodist Home for Children & Families

October 10, Philadelphia, PA Methodist Services for Children & Families

breakfast, a medical clinic and a clothing shop. All told, St. Francis House feeds and provides services to about 800 homeless people a day. Each weekday morning, the staff hands out 25-30 numbers, which enable the holder to “shop” with a “personal shopper.” While the client waited,

the team brought out a small selection of pants, shirts, belts, underwear, socks and a bar of soap. The two items most sought-after were jackets and shoes, which can only be acquired every few months. After all the numbers had been called, team members noticed a petite woman wearing a baseball cap, sweatshirt and jeans. When it seemed everyone was otherwise occupied, a volunteer quietly beckoned the woman over and handed her a pair of the sneakers the team had just brought in. As she bent to try them on, her face became animated and, as she started walking in place, there was a spring in her step and a huge smile on her face. “These fit perfect,” she said. “I haven’t had a pair of shoes that fit for years. I always have big shoes that trip me up.” Elizabeth Lund, communications officer at St. Francis House, said her clients got more than just shoes from the experience. “The shoe drive team members sent a very powerful message to people who often feel invisible. As one of our guests commented, ‘they made me feel like I matter.’”

PUMA is involved in many initiatives that align with our vision, all under the umbrella of PUMAVision, which supports causes that affect areas of peace, creativity and sustainability. In addition, as part of our efforts in the US, we have launched activities that support a wide variety of causes, most recently our breast cancer awareness program with Project Pink and Women's Professional Soccer. With many of our charitable efforts, we seek ways to engage our consumer in getting involved, which makes Soles4Souls a great partner in helping PUMA and our fans make a difference.


Soles4Souls 20 Chicago, IL

FN & Soles4Souls present

The Great American

Shoe Drive

Boylston, MA St. Louis, MO November 1, Chicago, IL Pui Tak Center

October 30, Boylston, MA Basketball Buddies The Great American Shoe Drive RV was packed and ready for its 957-mile trip to Chicago and had one important stop before leaving town. On board were volunteer Katherine Hamelin and her father, Don, and 20 pairs of new athletic shoes for the Basketball Buddies of Central Massachusetts, a new program pairing special-needs adults with volunteers in a non-competitive, yet structured basketball game that’s open to people from 14 and up. As the RV pulled up the driveway, the players, volunteers (including a coach), parents and onlookers were all waiting to greet the GASD team. Kathy describes the scene: “I opened the door of the RV to 30 bright faces. They were so excited to see us that we could have been rock stars!” Each athlete was invited into the RV to receive his sneakers and, once all were fitted, the players assembled outside for a big “thank you” and photo. Then they disappeared into the gym to play ball in their new sneakers.

Chicago’s Pui Tak Center is a church-based community serving more than 3,000 Chinese immigrants through programs for adults and children that enable them to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in their new country. While more than 200 men and women stopped by for the Great American Shoe Drive, one stood out. He’d arrived in America about three months before and was spending a lot of time at the center learning English and American customs and, best of all, making great progress. When the team asked him how they could help, he said he wanted to find a job, but didn’t have a pair of “nice shoes” to wear to an interview. He believed that if he could just get a pair of traditional black dress shoes, he could find the entry-level job he wanted. Luckily, it didn’t take long to find such a pair. When the man left that day, he left with a pair of shoes and something more: the confidence

“...the thanks should go to the companies that generously donated the shoes so we can give to those in need.” — Sarah Lau, Community Program Coordinator, Pui Tak Center

needed to succeed. The team felt honored to play a small part in one man’s life as he begins a new journey in America, a life of liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness. Speaking on behalf of the Center’s clients, Community Program Coordinator Sarah Lau said “after receiving this wonderful gift, many people said ‘xie xie’ [thank you in Chinese] to me, but the thanks should go to the companies that generously donated the shoes so we can give to those in need.”

November 5, St. Louis, MO St. Patrick Center

For Basketball Buddies Team Organizer Christine Lewis, “the Great American Shoe Drive isn’t just about new sneakers. It’s about a generosity that impacts lives, gives hope to challenged adults and their families and caretakers and comforts souls. Thank you.”

The largest provider of homeless services in Missouri, the St. Patrick Center offers opportunities for self-sufficiency and dignity to people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. About 100 people were expected when the Great American Shoe Drive – led this time by Soles4Souls’ Keith Woodley – arrived.

“We’ve been working with Soles4Souls for a while,” says Matt Dragos, president of the company’s Rialto division, “and really wanted to do more, which made the Great American Shoe Drive a perfect fit.” Also a priority is “supporting our retail partners in their fundraising,” says Dragos. “Whether it’s QVC and their support for Habitat for Humanity or Peebles/Stage Stores supporting the American Cancer Society, we try to participate and contribute to each effort.” White Mountain also supports breast cancer awareness and research with QVC/FFANY and the Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. In addition, the company supports local causes in its hometown of Lisbon, NH. “We enthusiastically support Main Street Lisbon, which has partnered with the national Main Street organization. Through volunteering and donations, we’re helping protect and enhance the town that’s been our home from the beginning.” White Mountain is also “very supportive of our associates participating in charitable and humanitarian causes,” says Dragos. In fact, the company is starting a program in 2011 that will formally recognize and support employees’ contributions to worthwhile causes. “Nothing beats the feeling of participating in a group effort to help a cause,” says Dragos. “That’s why the Great American Shoe Drive has been such a rewarding experience for us. It brings our industry together to help others and makes us stronger as a whole.”


Soles4Souls 22


Nashville, TN

with a gentleman who hugged me after I helped him with some shoes. Later, my daughter, who had seen this exchange, said, ‘Daddy, you really made that man feel better — this is one of the best days, ever.’” Katie Holcomb, the Center’s Senior Event Coordinator, agreed: “What might be just another pair of shoes to most is a great gift to St. Patrick Center clients.”

November 14, Nashville, TN Davidson County YWCA Domestic Violence Shelter Keith was accompanied by a very special assistant, his 6-year-old daughter Myla. He was immensely proud as he watched her dive right in, organizing shoes, retrieving sizes, even offering style suggestions. “She seemed instinctively to know when to hold back and give people their space, as well as how to make casual conversation with those waiting or who had their own children in tow,” Keith reports. “At one point, I was really touched to share a special moment

It was the last stop for the Great American Shoe Drive and the place was the Davidson County YWCA Domestic Violence Shelter. As the team set up, they learned that more than 20 women and 15-to-20 children were living in the shelter. Fleeing domestic violence, these women and children have come to the Y with just the clothes on their back and the shoes on their feet. At a location undisclosed for safety reasons, they can rebuild their lives without the physical, mental and verbal abuse many of them have experienced. Before long, the team was greeted by friendly faces looking forward to choosing a new pair of shoes that fit just right. One woman was overcome by emotion as she received her new shoes, stating that this new pair doubled the number of shoes she had. The gratitude in their voices made everyone aware of their need for shoes and how much they appreciated the efforts on their behalf. Team member Tiffany Johnson fitted two young boys, brothers 9 and 11, with new shoes as well. “Seeing their eyes light up over new sneakers and being able to lace them up tight was a great experience. They were so thrilled

Yellow Box Shoes has been supporting the efforts of Soles4Souls for the past four years so President Terry Chen was pleased to hear about the Great American Shoe Drive. “It’s great to be able to help people who can’t afford something as fundamental as a pair of shoes, and it’s great to be able to be a part of such a good thing.” FN & Soles4Souls Aside from working with Soles4Souls, Yellow Box also supports the present Two Ten Foundation. “We’ve been The Great American involved with other groups in the past,” says Chen, “but now we’re focusing on Soles4Souls and Two Ten because we know them and we see that they really help people.”

Shoe Drive

to have nice, new shoes for school.” As she left the YWCA that day, Tiffany was reminded that although Soles4Souls distributes to 127 countries worldwide, “there are SO many needs here in the U.S. We never know what our neighbor, co-worker, or even close friend may be going through. Sometimes something as simple as a gift of shoes can help change their world for the better. Every time I go on a distribution for Soles4Souls, I realize the importance of our mission. The experience always puts everything into focus for me.”

& FN and Soles4Souls would like to thank the Great American Shoe Drive sponsors for making it possible to change the world for more than 15,000 people one pair at a time. Thanks to Asics, Clarks Companies North America, Dearfoams, Dr. Martens, Evolution Design Lab, Impo International, Micro-Pak, Ltd., Minnetonka, Puma, White Mountain and Yellow Box.

Want to help? There are many ways you can get involved with Soles4Souls. To find out more, visit soles4souls. org/get_involved or call 615.391.5723.

Chen appreciates that working with charitable groups is a positive thing for Yellow Box’s reputation, but he also sees it as “a good reminder for employees of the importance of spreading the love with what you can. There’s got to be someone giving back to the community. Yellow Box, fortunately, has been a profitable company. I think we should feel grateful and do our share to keep the community filled with love and care.”

Great American Shoe Drive Recap  

Learn how the Great American Shoe Drive with Footwear News and Soles4Souls changed lives across America.

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