NASHVILLE, Tenn., Oct. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- What started as a simple idea to help the victims of Southeast Asia recover from the tsunami in 2004 has become the largest distributor of free footwear in the world—Soles4Souls, Inc. (www.Soles4Souls.org). And this week it is celebrating its biggest milestone to date with the distribution of 16 million pairs of shoes. The shoe charity posted a video greeting on its website and official Facebook page thanking partners for their continued support and attributing the impact to their friends all over the globe.
In a personal note from the CEO and Founder Wayne Elsey posted on the charity's website, he thanks "every person who has ever donated a pair of shoes, walked barefoot for a day to raise awareness, or done anything in between to help spread the message of hope, because this is a collaborative effort."
Soles4Souls has responded to more than 40 natural disasters worldwide with relief aid since 2004, including Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti earthquake in 2010, the Japan earthquake, and the Alabama and Missouri tornadoes in 2011. With 1 in 4 adults living in abject poverty, the shoe charity also assists individuals living in developing nations and in the U.S. who cannot afford shoes.
"This is a celebration, but it doesn't mean we're slowing down," Elsey clarified. "Our organization is committed to using American's excess to fill the footwear void in the U.S. and abroad, and the need is larger than it has ever been. This is an enormous milestone for our organization and we are incredibly grateful to every single person that has made a sacrifice in their life to improve the quality of life for someone else."
Individuals can join in the celebration by becoming a fan of Soles4Souls on Facebook, hosting a shoe drive in their local community or business, or by signing up to raise funds for the charity at www.giveshoes.org.
"There isn't a better way to help us celebrate than by helping more people, so get involved and help us continue to change the world one pair at a time," Elsey added.
About Soles4Souls®, Clothes4Souls®, and Hope4Souls®
Soles4Souls collects new shoes to give relief to the victims of abject suffering and collects used shoes to support micro-enterprise efforts to eradicate poverty. Soles4Souls' other two divisions, Clothes4Souls and Hope4Souls, provide the same relief and support through clothing and other necessities. Donating parties are eligible for tax advantages. Visit www.giveshoes.org, www.clothes4souls.org, or www.hope4souls.org for more information.