February 7, 2017
NORTON, Kan. – Attention anyone with a closet: Those shoes you no longer want are desperately needed to fight the human tragedy of global poverty.
That’s the message being delivered by Norton County Hospital. Its Rehabilitation department, which includes physical, occupational and speech therapies, has launched a drive to collect shoes to help the poor. All kinds of gently used and new shoes can be dropped off from now until March 9 at the hospital’s Rehabilitation department, located on the lowest level.
The shoes that Norton County Hospital collects will be delivered to Soles4Souls, a not-for-profit global social enterprise committed to fighting poverty through the collection and distribution of shoes and clothing. Founded in 2006, the organization has distributed more than 30 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries.
Soles4Souls will convert every used pair of shoes collected from the community into a value-added social currency to achieve positive change, both humanitarian and economic. Most of the gently used shoes will be distributed to microenterprise programs that create jobs in Haiti and other poor nations. The resulting revenue will help fund the free distribution of new shoes in the U.S., Canada and developing nations around the world.
The connection between poverty and shoes is well documented. The World Bank estimates that approximately 400 million children worldwide – more than the entire U.S. population – live in pronounced poverty. Millions of these children don’t have access to adequate footwear, which significantly affects their health and well-being. 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 such as hookworm that cause lasting suffering and lifelong debilitation.
“Many people have shoes they don’t wear or an old pair that will just end up in a landfill,” said Margi Nielsen, occupational therapist at Norton County Hospital. “Give those to us, and know that you are taking a step to making the world a better place for all of us.”
Norton County Hospital shoe drive for Soles4Souls information
Soles4Souls is a not for profit global social enterprise committed to fighting poverty through the collection and distribution of shoes and clothing. The organization advances its anti-poverty mission by collecting new and used shoes and clothes from individuals, schools, faith-based institutions, civic organizations and corporate partners, then distributing those shoes and clothes both via direct donations to people in need and by provisioning qualified micro-enterprise programs designed to create jobs in poor and disadvantaged communities. Since it began, Soles4Souls has distributed more than 30 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Soles4Souls is committed to the highest standards of operating and governance. Please visit www.soles4souls.org for more information.