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Soles4Souls

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Disaster Aid, Emergency Assistance, Human Services, International, International Development, Public Safety, Disaster Preparedness & Relief

Mission: At Soles4Souls, we turn unwanted shoes and clothing into opportunity, by keeping them from going to waste and putting them to good use - providing relief, creating jobs and empowering people to break the cycle of poverty.

Results: With locations and warehouses across three continents, Soles4Souls has been able to distribute more than 40 million pairs of shoes in 129 countries since 2006.

Target demographics: turn shoes and clothing into opportunity

Geographic areas served: communities all over the world, including the US

Programs: micro-enterprise in developing countries and for relief in the US and across the world.

Community Stories

112 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Rebecca Berkeley B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I traveled with my 10 year old daughter (celebrated 11 during the travel) on the Guatemala trip. This experience was so incredibly transformative for both of us. There is nothing that can compare to serving along side your child in this way. S4S had personal relationships and partnerships in country that provided access to places we'd never seen without having been a part of this trip. We traveled from remote mountain tops to more urban city centers and experienced the needs of all of these communities. The travel group allowed for close connections and created friendships that I will have for a lifetime. The greatest testament to this organization is the fact that everyone else in my group had been on multiple trips before. I cannot say enough positive things. This trip and our leader Tiffany had major impact. I have never met such big hearted people. We will be traveling with them again!

Comments ( 1 )

S4S Team Rebecca, thank you for your incredible support and for allowing us to be a part of your family. We look forward to many more trips together so we can make this world a better place one shoe at a time. Forever grateful to you.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just love what you doing and never stop it..In December we going to get our first batch of consignment.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My Life changing experience with Soles 4 Souls took place in June 2017. The group I worked with, traveled with and volunteered with became a family to me. The experience in the Dominican Republic was one I will never forget. It opened up a whole new world for me and one I am so thankful for. It was more than about giving shoes though, it was about the smiles on their faces and the time we spent with them. Soles 4 Souls gave this to me and for that reason, I can't thank them enough. Time has passed but I still want to give back. This trip was the starting point for me in terms of the work I still do with them and many other organizations where I live. I owe it all to my family and friends from Soles 4 Souls.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first traveled with S4S around six years ago on a trip to Haiti with my two teenage children. We had an amazing experience and it opened our eyes to the challenges and joys of individuals living in Haiti. A couple years ago I stated volunteering collecting and warehousing shoes. I enjoy being a part of this organization for many reasons. While everyone needs help sometimes I think it is important to create programs that help people to help themselves. That is why the S4S micro enterprise programs are so significant. I can't say enough wonderful things about the staff who all seem to truly love their jobs and the outstanding service they provide.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It will be one year next month that Soles4Souls entered my life and there hasn’t been a day since that I don’t talk about S4S! Having won a DSW shoe distribution trip to Jamaica with S4S I experienced the work they are doing first hand. Going into the community and experiencing the joy a single pair of shoes brings to a child or a mother is heart fulfilling! But that’s a quick and short term effect (which is fantastic!). It was learning about the long term effects micro-enterprises have in these developing nations that was eye opening. Making partnerships with individuals in these nations and providing them with a decent inventory of goods and some business training was amazing. It’s the opportunity of having a business to provide not only for their families but to help their communities. It’s a decent pair of shoes that could limit a child from going to school or a mother being able to go to work. Giving our no longer used shoes a new life and keeping them out of landfills seemed like a no brainer! S4S doesn’t just provide help internationally but domestically as well. I couldn’t help but put my energy into this organization and just completed a shoe drive (even during COVID-19) donating over 5k pairs of shoes! The work S4S is doing is phenomenal and they will forever be a part of my life. I will continue to stand on my SHOE BOX and shout out my praises for S4S!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Soles4Souls has changed my life in so many amazing ways! I was introduced with Soles4Souls in 2015 when I began working for the Nashville Predators. Through the Preds & S4S partnership, I have had the opportunity to travel on several Soles4Souls global experiences. The countries include Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Colombia and our recent trip to Tanzania (scheduled for July) was just postponed due to COVID. There are no words to express my love for this nonprofit and what they represent. I have continually witnessed the work being done by everyone involved and it is AMAZING. I look forward to several more years of giving shoes and giving love alongside all of my dear friends within S4S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the privilege of traveling with Soles4Souls multiple times. I have visited their warehouse. I have collected shoes & clothing. The decision about where to spend my time & funds was an easy one. Their mission is simple & effective. They are working not just to give people a one time "leg up" but to improve the quality of life for current & upcoming generations. Disrupting the cycle of poverty, teaching entrepreneurs, showing people that there are people who care & want to help them make the world better. I found my purpose with S4S & will do whatever I can to help them keep this mission alive!

William T. M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This excellent nonprofit has an international reach that touches the lives of many poor children and adults. The shoes Soles4Souls provide improve the health and wellbeing individual recipients in immeasurable ways. In addition, the distribution of needed shoes in undeveloped nations is achieved through micro-enterprise which lifts people out of poverty. The Soles4Souls organization is efficient and easy to work with. They improve the lives of many people worldwide and more than achieve their goal of "wearing out poverty." I report this as a person who interfaced with S4S, collected shoes at my local level and passed them on to the organization for distribution.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went on Soles4Souls Haiti trip. It was such a great and life-changing experience. Seeing the joy of those people after receiving shoes was something I will never forget. Thank you Soles4Souls!

Robert A.2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I joined the staff of Soles4Souls three years ago as the Chief Financial Officer. I've worked in nonprofit for almost 30 years and have always enjoyed the challenging but relaxed environment of nonprofits. At Soles4Souls, it seems there are always wonderfully-exhilarating challenges. The difference is the atmosphere of "TEAM work" at Soles4Souls which makes everything so possible!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Soles4Souls is such a fantastic organization. The work that they do with not only providing shoes for those in need and their micro enterprise business is top notch. I have seen and met those who have had life change due to their programs. I have traveled with them to Haiti and the partnerships they have made and the impact on the community is one of excellence.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have watched Souls for Souls' growing impact over the past years under dedicated leadership Buddy Teaster and and his committed team. I could not be more impressed and will continue my enthusiastic financial support .

Rod A.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I love Soles4Souls! I recently returned from a trip where I witnessed the work of S4S first-hand. Having recently joined the S4S team, I have to admit I was a little skeptical as to the real impact being made. But when I saw it in person and talked to the people who are benefitting from the programs, I was blown away. Children living in poverty are getting the shoes they desperately need. And the entrepreneurs who are selling shoes to earn a living -- their lives have been absolutely transformed!

Mason Y.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Soles4Souls has changed my life, and I will support S4S until the day I die!!

Leesa H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

S4S is an incredible organization that helps both in the US and abroad. Seeing the joy of a child's smile getting a new pair of shoes is truly magical! Both of my children have done shoe drives on their own and gotten so much out if the experience! The staff is so knowledgeable and make the process easy. Get involved with S4S now and not only change the life of someone in need, but change yours in the process.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have for several years watched the progress of this incredible organization. What wonderful things they are doing for women empowerment and for the improvement of daily life for people all over the world. I happily watched our local church collect over 350 pairs of shoes for this worthwhile endeavor. Folks even went out and bought new shoes for toddlers and children. It lifted up our community every bit as much as it lifted those in need.

Parker M.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Impact driven organization. Creates retail entrepreneurs in some of the most challenging markets worldwide, with your old shoes.

Leigh M.2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I sit on the Canadian Board and can't say enough about this incredible organization-I have seen first hand the power of a pair of shoes. The micro enterprise component of S4S is so inspiring and IS ending the cycle of proverty for people all over the world.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've served on many nonprofit boards and this nonprofit is one of the best. Not only is it extremely transparent and well-managed, but every dollar contributed turns into $40 in economic impact.

Pattie Farris G.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Soles4Souls truly lives its core values - Transparency, Entrepreneurial, Accountable and Meaningful. They turn shoes and clothing into opportunity thru their micro enterprise program - adding hope to others lives.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Soles4Souls is making a huge difference in the world! They are creating sustainable jobs and having an enormous impact in numerous countries that desperately need help.

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Soles4Souls mission is to Wear Out Poverty. The amazing team and group of volunteers is doing a spectacular job to make that happen! I have had the opportunity of traveling with S4S multiple times and I can’t say enough great things. I would highly recommend both traveling with them and donating to their mission.

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S4S Team 08/09/2018

Milledge, your vision and guidance are driving forces for our mission. Thank you for your incredible support!

1 Buddy T.

Donor

Rating: 5

First, I work at Soles4Souls as the CEO, so I am very biased. But I also am a donor, have traveled with my family and friends on S4S trips and spend a lot of my time telling the S4S story to those who are thinking about supporting us with donations of time, money and shoes & clothes. I believe in this mission and work.

I have seen, first hand and often, the great things that people do when given the opportunity, whether that's a free pair of shoes that provides the opportunity to go to school, shoes that entrepreneurs sell to create an income, or the opportunity to travel with us on a service trip or to collect shoes. All of these things are make the world a better place and I'm proud to be part of an organization who helps make that possible.

Brynn W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the unique opportunity to travel with S4S to Honduras in June of 2018. While there, I met the little girl in the first picture.S4S went to this school in May of 2018 but did not have enough time to get to all the kids. So we went back to the school to give the rest of the kids their shoes. My group was rather large and at this distribution, we were split into two small groups. I had begun playing catch with her and she kept saying, "Yo quierro zapatos" which translates to "I want shoes". I took her over to our S4S rep. who spoke to her teacher. She then informed me the girl did not receive shoes in May and could receive them that day. Through this experience with the girl and the other distributions, I learned that unconditional love and happiness can go a long way. The experience in Honduras shaped my life in ways I never thought possible and have S4S to thank for that. If I ever have the chance in the future, I would travel with them again in a heartbeat.

1 Katie Z.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My Soles4Souls trip to Guatemala was an experience I’ll never be able to replicate. It gave me new passions and magnified the values I had. Working with Kristen and CeCe was so special and the family bond that was created over the course of the week is something I’ll always treasure. This nonprofit stands for everything you could possibly want and is filled with the most selfless and generous people. I would volunteer with Soles4Souls again in a heartbeat, and I intend to in the very near future!

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S4S Team 11/14/2018

Thank you so much for joining us and sharing your incredible passion with us. Can't wait for the next time!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Best experience of my life! My group went to Honduras for the week and went to 4 different distributions. Soles 4 souls was incredible and it was a life changing trip. Soles 4 souls organized food, hotels, all of our distributions, and our trip to see a waterfall! I got to meet so many beautiful people and provide so many children with a brand new pair of shoes. We also got to see first hand how people’s lives are completely turned around with the soles4 souls enterprise program.

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S4S Team 11/14/2018

Thank you, Ryleigh, for sharing your time and talent with us on the ground. So grateful for your service!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Previously, I have been able to volunteer on different service and mission trips, but I had never traveled for one out of the country. This past summer, I was fortunate enough to participate in the Soles4Souls service trip to Honduras with my organization. Our organization has partnered with S4S the last 4 years so I had heard nothing but great things on how they arrange their trips.

The whole process was easy to register and was well prepared for all of our pre-travel necessities including what to pack, what to have done with immunization shots, etc. Going into the trip, I thought it would just be another service outing with current coworkers from my organization along with the representatives with Soles4Souls. Little did I know that we would become a very close unit of friends from different backgrounds devoting our time together and made the whole experience that much better. It was amazing to see firsthand how everything was handled and made the transition to step in and volunteer my time extremely easy and has made me look forward to going on future service trips with Soles4Souls because of their passion and desire to help others out when needed.

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S4S Team 11/14/2018

We are so incredibly grateful for your commitment to our mission. Thank you for being such a great partner in every way. Thank you!

Donor

Rating: 5

At our company, BioPed Footcare, we've been blessed to have traveled on 3 group trips with Soles4Souls, with a 4th trip planned for next February. Travelling abroad on a shoe distribution is a humbling experience where you experience the full range of emotions, usually ending in a deep appreciation for the power of the human spirit! It's amazing to see the Micro Enterprise program at work and to meet some of the entrepreneurs who have been empowered by the program. In our case, it is thanks to the donations from our customers - one used pair of shoes at a time - that allow us to travel as well as build some amazing relationships here at home! Every step of the way, our Partners at Soles4Souls were there to support, assist and inspire us. The travel coordinators and in country partners are incredibly talented ad made everyone feel safe and involved. We could not have achieved such an amazing outcome on our own.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My employer provided a sabbatical opportunity for a group of employees to volunteer for Soles4Souls in 2018. We served some hard hit communities in Puerto Rico still suffering the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. This phenomenal experience is one that adjusted my world view in a variety of ways. First; the nature of the service experience creates an intimate connection to spirit of the people being served. I feel that I now see the human experience during crisis recovery in a different way. Second; having this opportunity to see my employer and colleagues through a lens of selflessness has not only created strong interpersonal bonds but also shifted how I perceive and respond to colleagues actions day to day. Third; the exceptional leadership that the Soles4Souls team on the ground and the community collaborators they partner with allowed me to see just how crucial and impactful efforts like this are to those in need. There are simply not enough words for me to convery how incredible of an experience this was.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the privilege of being part of a team of Voya Financial® employees who traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico April 21-25, 2018 on a mission to distribute new shoes to more than 600 children in communities severely devastated by Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico suffered catastrophic damage and a major humanitarian crisis, including the destruction of its previously damaged electrical grid, when Hurricane Maria hit in September, 2017. For weeks and months in Maria's wake, most of the island's population suffered from flooding, power outages and lack of resources. Many still do.

Upon arrival, the meticulous planning, thorough preparation and comprehensive coordination of resources that preceded our arrival became very apparent. Those things – the extensive groundwork – are precisely what allowed us to be fully present, and to make the most of our time in Puerto Rico.

Two full days allowed us to visit four schools. Some were in the hardest hit mountainous areas of the island, where they referred to themselves as “The Forgotten Ones”, still do not have power or running water. The devastation here was far worse than what I had pictured in my mind. I expected this to be a somber group, but was very wrong. Instead they were gracious and positive; asking what they could do for us. It was truly humbling.

I was filled with nervous excitement each time we arrived at each school, and each time I was overwhelmed by the genuine appreciation that greeted us. Ranging in age from kindergarten to sixth grade and dressed in their uniforms, some were wide-eyed and quiet, others were confident and talkative. Our job was to measure each child’s feet, gently wash them and try new shoes on to ensure a proper fit. We also provided Blessing Bags filled with school supplies, personal hygiene items and some fun things for the kids. Every pair of feet that came to us was attached to a child with a beautiful heart.

While this journey began as one of service to others, I am certain the love and gratitude we felt in return is a gift our team will cherish for a lifetime. These families, our fellow Americans, have been through so much these past eight months and show so much love, courage, and resilience - we can all truly learn something from them and I absolutely did. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity.

Client Served

Rating: 4

We had a great time starting our annual service trip tradition at the University of Texas. Athletes from 3 different sports enjoyed learning about Jamaica, interacting with the people, and making an internal and important impact through service with Soles4Souls! They make everything simple, yet impactful. Great time with a great organization!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We had the most rewarding experience with our distribution trip to Haiti last year led by Kristin and Megan. They were so organized and ensured everyone was safe, happy and had a very meaningful time while helping those in need.
Would highly recommend this amazing organization to anyone looking to give back.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I travelled with Soles4Souls to Puerto Rico as part of my company sponsored volunteer sabbatical. The experience was like none other - I was able to understand how less fortunate people live, learn from and appreciate their gratitude, love and dedication to family/community. S4S was extremely well organized both pre departure, arrival and post departure. The leaders we travelled with were knowledgeable, professional and passionate of the cause. They also partnered with extraordinary locals, who enhanced my experience as well. I highly recommend signing up for a life changing experience.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was recently blessed with the opportunity to travel with Soles4Souls to Honduras this past June and I can honestly say it was the best 5 days of my life. The trip was extremely well planned by Kristin and others and I would not change a thing. Soles4Souls is such an amazing organization that I will support for the rest of my life. I met so many people that changed my life and I would go on another trip in a heart beat.

1 Angelo R.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My Soles4Souls experience in Guatemala with Kristen absolutely changed my life! I could not be more grateful for this trip.

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S4S Team 11/14/2018

So glad this was the case! Grateful for your incredible service. Thank you.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering wit Soles4Soul was one other most life changing experiences I ever had. Everything from how the trip was organized and planned to our amazing guide, Kristen Schwartz, and of course the amazing kids we were able to serve on our trip. I am blown away by the passion and genuine spirits of this organization and everyone associated with it. The minute we stepped off the plane, Soles4Souls felt like family and them along with the communities we served embraced us with open arms.

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S4S Team 11/14/2018

So greatly appreciate your service to those most in need. Thank you for sharing of yourself with us!

1 Gracie S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Traveling with Soles4Souls is one of the greatest opportunities I have had in my life. Their team is filled with selfless people, who you don't have to question anything with. I never once felt unsafe or unprepared when traveling with Soles4Souls. There was complete organization between our leader and the in-country partner the entire time. It takes a pretty special person to be able to open a level of vulnerability and honesty between everyone when reflecting about your days, and all of their leaders have this ability. It was really amazing to see the love the communities showed towards us, since they knew Soles4Souls had been there before. I am so unbelievably grateful for meeting the people I did, and to have these memories and relationships forever!

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S4S Team 11/14/2018

Gracie, grateful in every single way. Thank you for joining us in changing lives. Thank you!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am so blessed to have traveled with Soles4Souls to Honduras in June 2018. The trip was so incredibly well planned and the experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I met so many amazing children, such as the one in the photo from a malnutrition center. Upon returning from Honduras, I was able to intern for S4S and I will continue to support this organization, as it is truly something special

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S4S Team 11/14/2018

Megan, thank you for everything! So glad for knowing and working with you.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Brendan Moreau and this past July I was lucky enough to travel through Soles4Souls with a group of fellow Rutgers University Student-Athletes. We traveled to the Montego Bay, Jamaica area to distribute shoes to Jamaican children in need. This trip far exceeded my expectations, and has changed the way I view certain aspects of my life. I will cherish this experience for the rest of my life.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was lucky enough to travel with S4S to Puerto Rico in April 2018 with my company, Voya Financial. When I found out I was chosen to go, I was beyond excited. Little did I know this trip with beyond exceed my expectations. I came home with a completely different mind-set - one I was sad, and upset for what some people have to live through and I felt guilty going back to my home where I have little things like toilet paper, food, clean water, etc. But this also made me happy to know that I am in a fortunate enough position to continue giving what I can and that hasn't stopped since Puerto Rico.

One last thing - the appreciation, joy and love these children and adults have will truly last a lifetime. I cannot thank S4S & Voya enough for this experience. I am already working on saving up enough to be able to go on another trip!!

Ryan C.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience with Soles4Souls in Jamaica was nothing short of amazing as it was the most impactful five days of my entire life. I had the pleasure of going to the city of Montego Bay with thirteen other great people and two locals who were ready to make a difference. Not only did we make a difference in the lives of the kids and their families, but we were fortunate enough to get some pretty awesome things out of the trip as well. I can specifically name a moment where my group and I went to a local church for a shoe distribution. Now keep in mind that these kids did not know very much of what was going on and definitely did not know any of us whatsoever. But the amount of love and affection that they showered us with the second we walked through those doors was so humbling and instantly reciprocated. This one little girl named Jackie grabbed my leg and would never let go, I had the pleasure of introducing her as well as myself to the people in attendance and that filled me with so much joy then and for the duration of the distribution as well. The level of appreciation that most of the individuals displayed was unmatched to any other community engagement opportunity that I have been involved in. I can genuinely not say enough about the Soles4Souls mission and the truly inspiring things that they have and are going to accomplish. This is my story and I am so proud to tell it to the world.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

There really aren't any words to describe or give enough credit to the Soles4Souls trips that I have been a part of these last three years. As cliché as it may sound, they're incredibly life changing. I look forward to these every summer and I am a loud of proud advocate of everything that S4S stands for. The people that we work with directly at Soles4Souls are remarkable and have the purest of souls. I will forever be a part of this heart warming cause!

Cole M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Cole Murphy, I'm a student athlete at Rutgers University. Growing up I had always been fortunate with having both parents in the home and a younger sister to keep me company. My mother had told me over and over growing up, "that if you have lived a blessed life do not take it for granted and constantly try to bless others as much as possible" That might not be the quote of the century, but it certainly something that I live by. When I came across the opportunity to travel with Soles4Souls to Puerto Rico, who had been severely damaged by hurricane Maria, I couldn't pass it up. Getting down to Puerto Rico and seeing what devastation was still around was mind boggling. You noticed that the "touristy" areas had already been rebuilt, but there were still areas on the island that had no electricity and it had been almost 8 months. Seeing how tough and resilient the people were was what made the trip so memorable. Kids that had lost so much still had smiles on their face and were just happy to surrounded by their classmates and our presence. Footlocker made an unbelievable donation that allowed these kids to have the nicest and newest shoes on the market. They were extremely grateful and could not wait to run around and play in the shoes that we had fitted for them.

All in all, regardless of how well I was able to depict my trip, it was unbelievable. The fellow student athletes that went, the guides Kiko and Manuel, but the kids are what is most memorable. They gave me a new perspective on life, because so much can go so wrong in this world and yet they still have smiles and attack the day with great attitudes.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the tremendous honor of traveling to serve with Soles4Souls the past two years. They are so organized and so passionate about the work that they do that it makes it incredibly easy to dive in and fully give yourself to the children and communities that we get to visit. There are never any worries about the travel or in-country logistics - you show up, you give shoes and you give yourself to creating a bond that will last a lifetime and will hopefully lead to growth and a better future for these underserved communities. S4S creates this environment of compassion that has left me taking away so much more than I could ever imagine. The work I am able to do on these trips makes me want to always strive to do more. I can't thank Soles4Souls enough for the relationships I have created and the opportunities to go outside of my comfort zones. First class organization and I cannot wait to serve more with them in the future.

Will McCaskill, Nashville Predators

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I met a wonderful six year old girl in Honduras who had autism. She loved wearing sunglasses and having people around her. We played catch, colored, and even showed her how to use a fidget spinner. While we were playing catch, she was throwing perfectly. I have never seen a better thrower but I still managed to miss the ball one time. The ball rolled under the trampoline and when she got up, I assumed she was going to get the ball. Instead, she jumped into my arms and wrapped me in a huge bear hug. I became so overwhelmed with emotions that I began to cry. She showed me that we should just love each other and eliminate judgment which would make the world a better place. Her simple hug has changed my life forever and has helped me grow as a young adult.

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S4S Team 09/24/2018

Thanks for this beautiful story and for sharing your love with this little girl and all of the children you met. You have already made the world a better place and we are so grateful to be a small part of that.

1 Polina P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I went to Jamaica with Soles4Souls, I had no idea what to expect. I had never been on a volunteering trip, I had never been to Jamaica, and some of the people that were in my team, I had never spoken to in the 2 years that I’ve been at Rutgers. I never expected to have had my heart filled with so much love and gratitude, least of all by a little 5 year old boy called Marky. We did a lot of amazing things on our trip, including sorting and organizing over 500 pairs of shoes to distribute to people, visited Montego Bay Infant School and the Child Development Agency at St. Johns Church
Hall to distribute shoes, visited Elgin Town Basic School in Lucea where we built a playground fence for the children, so that they had a safe place to play outside; and many other wonderful cultural immersions.

All of these activities and events were as beautifully humbling as the other, but none compared to when we went to the infant school. Of course it was our first exposure to such mission work an it would arguably be the most impactful because of it being our first job, but it genuinely was the most memorable and impactful for me due to the experience.
Marky was one of the children that sat with me to be fitted for shoes. The moment he sat down across from me, I could see that this child’s smile was overflowing with light and happiness. Something as simple as some new shoes to play in made him light up the whole room with his giggles and smile. It was beautiful.

After giving out the shoes, we were able to play with the children in the school yard. Their playground was not much bigger than the size of a standard classroom and was dotted with some basic stations for the children to play on - some slides, a see-saw, a couple of climbing frames and some swing sets. It wasn’t a lot, but the children made use of every single station with the most enlightening shrieks of delight and smiles so wide, that it was impossible not to smile back.
Marky instantly found me on the playground and invited me to come and play with him and his friends all over the place. We went on the slides, the monkey bars, played kitchen in the climbing frame, went on the seesaw and ended up under a tree in the shade to hide away from the glaring morning sun. When we were called in to take a picture together and bid our final farewells, Marky ran off, instructing me to wait for a moment that I never expected would change the way that I see my life now. Upon his return, he ran towards me with excitement and the same inning smile on his face that he had when he first put on his new pair of shoes. In his hand he was waving money at me, saying “here this is for you, take it”. My heart absolutely melted… That this child, who doesn’t know me, who clung to me, hugging me and playing with me as if I was long a member of his family, was coming to give me money, simply because I gave him some new shoes and for being a playmate for an hour so.

I was so taken aback because I was simply giving with no expectation of anything in return, yet this little boy, with very little time on this earth was so kind as to want to give, what I imagine to be his pocket money, possibly one of the few things of value that he has to me. Simply for giving him love and being a friend for him. It really made me think of the genuine childhood kindness that comes deep from within our human natures. That it is such a natural instinct to want to give and provide, and that giving even the smallest thing, can mean the world to others… And albeit it may be considered a very small moment, perhaps of minuscule meaning to others, for me, it turned my world upside down. I am more conscious to take time to appreciate the things and people that I have around me, the resources that are so easily available to us and perhaps not so to others, and am conscious of what I can do to help those around me, what abilities and resources do I have that I can give to others. Marky will never really know how much of an impact he has had on me and the way I see my life, but I hope that the people that I help in the future will. Marky’s story will never stop living on for me, and as long as I keep giving as much as I can, I know that I will be doing my best for Marky, for myself and most importantly for others. I wish only that others will hopefully pursue a mission trip or some community service throughout their lives to get even the slightest piece of enlightenment that I know my entire group got from this journey. I can wholeheartedly say that we have all left Jamaica finding more of ourselves in others, and giving even more. I hope that this reaches as many people as possible and will hopefully put across just how much everyone can make a huge impact in the world with a little bit of love."

- Polina

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S4S Team 09/24/2018

Polina, wow! Thanks for sharing your story. So grateful for your service. Our team, Marky and all of those whom we met in Jamaica were changed by your generosity of spirit. Thank you.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In May 2018 I was given the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica with Soles4Souls and 10 student-athletes from Iowa State University. As a men's basketball staff member I don't have the opportunity to spend much time with other athletes. This trip was a chance for me to serve some people in need, step out of my comfort zone and get to know some of our student athletes. I was able to accomplish all of that and more!!

First off, the organization and communication of our on the ground support, Kristen Schwartz, was amazing!! She helped prepare us for the trip without divulging so much that there were still pleasant surprises. I was even more impressed when I met Kristen in person and found out the total number trips she was personally responsible for. She treated us like we were her number one priority! Kristen is a rockstar and I feel like her ability to connect with the student-athletes and staff were her best qualities. The longer we were on the trip, the more respect I gained for her! She has a unique skillset that sets her a part from anyone else I have ever worked with in this capacity.

As for the impact the trip had on our athletes and myself I can tell you that it was noticeable from the first day. I mentioned earlier that not only did not know many of the athletes participating, they didn't know each other very well either. That was erased on day one when we broke the ice and participated in our first distribution. I was so proud to see our athletes not only showing genuine interest in the kids and staff but they also were trying their best to lear Spanish!

My experience was personally amazing! Not only was I able to meet new people and serve others but I was able to really experience genuine relationships with our athletes. We all shared personal stories and experiences.

The lasting memory that I will carry with me the most is our entire team sitting in a circle sharing our stories from the day. When I run into the athletes on campus we all make time to say hello and catch up. We will always have this bond and I'm honored to have been a part of their experience!

Micah Byars

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S4S Team 09/24/2018

Micah, thanks to you and all the students for joining us. You are each a very special part of the Soles4Souls family. We are grateful for your service in Costa Rica and support to help those most in need. Go Cyclones!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Everything was absolutely incredible. Our group leader, Kristen, was so organized, kind, helpful, and supportive in every single way. The trip was so smooth and well planned. The experience was the greatest experience I have ever had in my life. There is nothing better than what I did with this nonprofit.

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S4S Team 09/24/2018

So grateful to be a part of this journey with you. Thank you for your service. We look forward to the next trip!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've had the opportunity to travel with S4S twice internationally-Haiti, Honduras as well as domestically-Nashville, Atlanta. Both experiences were impactful on the local communities where folks are fighting to live day by day and lift themselves out of the cycle of poverty. All on the trip were impacted as well about the boots on the ground work that S4S does with it local partners to distribute shoes/clothes. All on S4S staff truly embrace the mission of "wearing out poverty". Proud to be associated with each of them!

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S4S Team 08/28/2018

We are proud of YOUR incredible service on our Board. Thanks for all of your support.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Our organization, ReEstablish Richmond, were recipients of donations from Soles4Souls for our annual event called World Refugee Day. On this day, we invite individuals from the diverse groups of refugee communities in Richmond, Virginia and connect them to important resources in the community as well as an opportunity to celebrate their new journey with food, entertainment, and family fun. Soles4Souls not only provided shoe donations for our refugee families, their staff and volunteers provided support for distribution on the day of the event and helped promote our work in the media. They helped make our event successful and we are grateful!

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S4S Team 08/15/2018

Thank you for allowing us to participate in this wonderful event. We were honored to partner with you and look forward to a long friendship!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Soles4Souls is a first rate organization. I have had the opportunity to travel with them on a couple of occasions and it has been excellent. They take care of all the little details most will not think of until it is upon them. I have been on several other mission trips and was pleasantly surprised at how well organized Soles4Souls was. From transportation to meals, whether we ate in a local town or at the hotel, it was all planned perfectly. They gained access to communities, orphanages and schools most groups would not have access to. This has a lot to do with their local partnerships with people in the communities they seek to serve. I will be going on many more trips with Soles4Souls. They have become an extended family.

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S4S Team 08/10/2018

Thank you so much for your kind words and for your incredible partnership! We are so grateful for your support of those making their way out of poverty. We look forward to your next trip!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have the privilege of working with Soles4Souls as our donation charity partner. The team has been nothing short of amazing! They are open and honest, responsive, and incredibly easy to work with. In January 2017, I had to opportunity to join Soles4Souls on a giving trip in Haiti ... the trip was eye-opening, humbling, rewarding and life changing. Seeing first-hand how people's generous donations of shoes (that would likely otherwise end up in a landfill) can literally pull less fortunate folks out of poverty was very emotional and re-iterated how important the work we're doing together really is. All of that to say that, on all levels Soles4Souls is outstanding and I cannot say enough good things about them!

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S4S Team 08/08/2018

Thank you so very much for your incredible partnership. You are an integral part of our mission to help those in need. Our work would not be possible without you!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Soles4Souls does an amazing job of collecting shoes in our community. The Sports Center of Richmond has been a great spot to donate and collect shoes for Soles4Souls.

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S4S Team 08/07/2018

We are so grateful for your partnership and thank you for helping us fulfill our mission to help those making their way out of poverty!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Soles4Souls donated 100s of pairs of new shoes to our World Refugee Community Resources fair. Recipients of the shoes were so excited about being able to find new shoes for each member of their family! Their staff were easy to work with and very responsive to the needs of the refugee community.
Kate Ayers, Executive Director, Re-Establish Richmond

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S4S Team 08/07/2018

Kate, we are so grateful for your partnership. So glad we could make a difference on World Refugee Day! Look forward to a long friendship. Thanks for all you do.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter and I just went to Guatemala on her 5th, and my 4th trip with Soles4Souls. We love this organization and the work they do. We go to help give - but we always receive far more in return. Soles4Souls has a wonderful mission and it is one we will continue to support in as many ways as we can for as long as we can.

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S4S Team 08/06/2018

Thanks so much to the both of you for joining us. We are so grateful for your support of our mission. Here's to many more adventures together!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just returned from Guatemala, from my fifth trip with Soles4Souls. I cannot say enough great things about this non-profit and the work they do, both in the U. S. and all over the world. The travel experience is unforgettable and you are helping them to continue their mission of giving shoes and giving love. If you have wanted to do one of these trips, you will be overjoyed at making the decision to travel with them.

Check their website out, subscribe to their weekly email to find out what all they are doing, host a shoe drive. This organization helps out when disasters hit, they provide coats and socks to those in need. They've given shoes to the homeless. They are THERE for any circumstance!!

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S4S Team 08/06/2018

Forever grateful for your support of all those making their way out of extreme poverty. Thank you for giving of your time, talent and treasure to make the world a better place.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We traveled with S4S to Honduras in May 2018. My son participated in the S4S capstone course at his high school, and I decided to go on the trip with him. We had never been to Central America, and our experience was outstanding. The work was hard, and I learned Spanish out of necessity. The most amazing part of the trip was seeing my son learn about social entrepreneurship at the most basic level. Returning to the states was a stark contrast to a few days interacting with people living in tin shacks -- no access to sanitation, running water, or electricity. When an orphaned child sits down in front of you, and you begin with "¿Cómo te llamas?" while washing and putting shoes on their feet, your perspective changes. We made some great friends, saw incredible things, and our Spanish improved out of necessity. We are planning to go on another trip, and I highly recommend S4S.

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S4S Team 08/01/2018

Barry, thanks to the both of you for joining us on this incredible journey. We are most fortunate to have you as our friends!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter and I went on this trip together to Guatemala in July of 2017. What an incredible trip it was for both of us!! We received more from this experience than we gave!! The one on one connections we were able to make with the kids was a special memory I will always cherish. Being able to touch and wash their dirty worn feet, to seeing their eyes light up and their smiles stretch across their faces when they received their very own new pair of shoes was absolutely priceless!! Not only did we get to make an impact in others lives, but they made a huge difference in ours!
Another blessing was serving along side some amazing women and the special friendships that were made. Soles4Souls and our team leader Taylar Proctor did an incredible job planning and leading our team. Those five days were a life changer for me!! Thank you Soles4Souls for touching the lives of many!

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S4S Team 03/29/2018

Thank you so much for sharing your incredible passion for good with us. We appreciate you!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The California State University (CSU) with its twenty-three campuses and 480,000+ students is the largest public higher education system in the US. Not surprisingly, the CSU-Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association (CSU-ERFA) is the largest organization of retired and emeritus faculty in the nation. Given the unanticipated honor of being elected to serve as President of CSU-ERFA, I have proposed a number of goals. One of them, which is very important to me, is the CSU Million Shoe Campaign in partnership with Soles4Souls (S4S). My co-chair for this endeavor is Emeritus Professor, Barbara Sinclair.

We piloted the S4S shoe drive at my home campus (CSU Dominguez Hills) over a year ago. Building on the lessons we learned, we expanded to CSU Los Angeles, Cal Poly Pomona, and San Diego State. This academic year the 38,000-student Cal State Long Beach campus is going to join the ranks. Barbara and I are working with the S4S staff to recruit other CSU campuses to implement this indirect and non-monetary approach to fighting poverty.

Obviously, the major goal of the S4S program is to provide shoes for those who lack any or adequate footwear. However, doing it at a university has a number of other important advantages. It is a campus-wide project involving students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni and corporate donors. It also allows the campus to reach out into the community and collect shoes from local schools and cities as well as churches, synagogues, temples, gyms, and a vast variety of other types of organizations. The public relations and organizational pay-offs have been incredible. Let’s fight poverty collectively!!!

Barbara and I, in conjunction with the S4S staff, would love to work with colleges and universities throughout the country to expand the marvelous program!!

~Bill Blischke

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S4S Team 10/03/2017

Thank you, Bill and Barbara, for all these years of great support. We appreciate you and our partnership!

1 briana_marie

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Soles for souls does an amazing job not only giving shoes for providing care for their recipients! They have fantastic organization, communication and follow through with their partners as well as volunteers!
I have worked with them as a photographer and as a volunteer for multiple trips and cannot say enough positive things about the entire staff !

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S4S Team 10/02/2017

Briana, we appreciate you so much! Thank you for your incredible support all these years.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked with Soles4Souls in various different ways. First when I was working with a start-up "business for good" company. Soles4Souls was one of our non-profit partners and one of my favorite to work with. They have a powerful and direct mission, great staff, and wonderful media that conveys their work to supporters. Soles4Souls goes above and beyond to make sure the work they are doing is serving each individual community in a helpful and meaningful way. Additionally they monitor and update their programs to stay up to date with ever evolving community needs. I recently also got to travel to Haiti with Soles4Souls. I was impressed by the contacts they have made and their allowance to let local leaders guide Soles4Souls' work based on what they know would help their community. As for my background, I have a degree in International Studies and have experience with a number of non-profits, foundations, and "business for good". Soles4Souls is one of the best and sets a standard for both stepping back and letting local leaders guide their work and constantly evolving in order to stay in touch with each community they work in and it's specific needs.

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S4S Team 08/19/2017

Thanks Logan! We’re so grateful for your voice and all the ways you’ve partnered with us over the years.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Soles4Souls has been an absolute pleasure to work with. They are doing amazing work around the world. Everyone in the organization is so dedicated and committed to improve lives and wear out poverty. We are truly honored to be partnered with them.

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S4S Team 10/03/2017

Sandra, so grateful for your partnership. Thanks for all you do in support of those making their way out of poverty!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Soles4Souls, as one of its community outreach programs, offers local high school seniors at 3 participating Title 1 status schools in the Nashville area the opportunity to experience micro-enterprise firsthand. Through a collaboration with teachers, school leaders, and Belmont University, Soles4Souls teaches students relevant skills related to marketing, collaboration, social enterprise, college access and readiness, cultural awareness, civic engagement, and project management over the course of a school year. Students collaborate to collect shoes in their community, and then--once they complete a project, service hours, a research paper, a portfolio, and a presentation to stakeholders--they are given the opportunity to serve those in need through a four-day shoe distribution. Not only does this program change the lives of children receiving shoes, but it also changes the lives of students in Nashville as they engage globally to combat poverty in a very tangible way. Students often report after their year-long experience that they have a passion for helping others, a commitment to continue serving, and a desire to learn from new cultures and communities.

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S4S Team 07/28/2017

Jacob, it is an honor for Soles4Souls to support Metro Nashville Public Schools. We are grateful for our partnership and look forward to many years of working together!

1

Advisor

Rating: 5

I teach sustainable business practices at The Ohio State University. A few years ago I became acquainted with S4S and agreed to have an MBA class perform a variety of projects to assist S4S to sharpen its outreach program. My students and were very impressed with the quality and dedication of the S4S staff and their commitment to using best practices to improve and expand their impact. This is an organization worthy of support by us all in whatever way we can help.

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S4S Team 07/28/2017

OSU is a top notch university and we couldn't be prouder of our many projects together. Thank you!

Advisor

Rating: 5

As a public high school teacher, I was introduced to Soles 4 Souls through project-based learning. My students and I were truly blessed to be in partnership with this incredible organization; they learned so much more than I could provide in the classroom. Soles 4 Souls included opportunities to expand their reading, writing, and social skills-even more so their awareness of the world and its cultures. I am so proud of their accomplishments! We have so many more students who have never experienced the joy of giving, and Soles 4 Souls is such reassurance that my students will learn their true purpose as a human being.

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S4S Team 07/28/2017

It is such a pleasure for us to be a part of the students' lives. Very glad that we can help them become globally competent. Appreciate all of your hard work!