Soles4Souls Partners with Brenda Combs, Former Homeless Drug Addict Turned Doctoral Student and Acclaimed Teacher, for Barefoot Friday

Shoe charity and inspiring public speaker join forces to bring ongoing relief to homeless people striving to escape the streets

Jun 03, 2010, 16:52 ET from Soles4Souls

NASHVILLE, Tenn. and PHOENIX, June 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Soles4Souls Inc., the charity dedicated to providing free shoes to people in need, announced a unique partnership with Brenda Combs, a former homeless drug addict with an amazing life story. The charity and Combs are working together to provide free shoes to homeless people in shelters across the United States, as well as providing tools to equip them to leave the streets and become self-sustaining members of the community.

A decade ago, Combs was living under a bridge, addicted to crack-cocaine, and caught in a tragic downward spiral. After a traumatic and violent night of drug binging and being attacked on the streets of Phoenix, she woke up in an alley with her shoes stolen from her feet and realized she had hit rock bottom. "It was 115 degrees and by the time I walked to the park to find help my feet were bloody, blistered and cut," said Combs. "I realized I could no longer live my life this way, and I prayed for guidance, answers and help," she said.

Today, Combs has earned a Masters Degree and is completing her Doctorate at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. She is a sought-after public speaker and the founder of a series of events and workshops aimed at giving Hope and the necessary tools to people interested in improving their lives. Her memoir is scheduled to be released in 2011.

"I'm excited to work with Soles4Souls and provide free shoes to homeless people in need," said Combs. "Giving someone a pair of new shoes can fill them with hope, which can lead to dramatic, life-affirming decisions. I know this first-hand and I'm proud to stand with Soles4Souls during Barefoot Week and make a difference in the lives of thousands of homeless people across America," Combs said.

"Brenda's life story is inspiring and serves as a blueprint for Hope," said Wayne Elsey, Founder and CEO of Soles4Souls. "Her mission matches ours exactly, and we want to celebrate and support her efforts. Brenda has proven that with an education and the right encouragement, anyone can change their life dramatically. We are very proud to work with her to reach homeless people in our own country, and not only with new shoes and clothing, but also with helping people chart a new course for their lives," he said.

For more about Soles4Souls, visit  For more about Brenda Combs, visit or

About Soles4Souls®

Soles4Souls is a Nashville-based charity that collects shoes from warehouses of footwear companies and the closets of people like you. We distribute these shoes, free of charge, to people in need around the world. Since 2005, Soles4Souls has given away over 10 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes (currently distributing one pair every 9 seconds). The shoes have been distributed in 125 countries, including Haiti, Kenya, Nepal and the United States. Soles4Souls is a 501(c)(3) recognized by the IRS and donating parties are eligible for tax advantages. Visit for more information.

More About Brenda

Brenda Combs is a nationally recognized educator and the Ambassador of Inspiration & Achievement at Grand Canyon University, where she teaches and mentors students on campus.  Additionally, she travels across the country speaking at corporations, universities, not-for-profit organizations, and to at-risk youth and students of all ages about "maximizing potential".

Recently, Brenda was profiled by numerous media outlets, including CNN, The TODAY Show and Reader's Digest, and she has been named to Who's Who Among America's Teachers.  She frequently returns to the 7th Avenue Bridge in Phoenix to share shoes, food, clothes, hygiene kits, and encouragement with homeless people.

SOURCE Soles4Souls