• 86°

Soles4Souls changing the world one pair of shoes at a time

Kelly Cash and Eady Pinckard were quick to admit that a large number of high school students have no idea what it would be like to be in real need. The thought that there are children around the world who don’t even have shoes to wear is a foreign one to many Americans.

But once the members of the Student Government Association at Pike Liberal Arts School heard that there are people in 125 countries who desperately need shoes, they “stepped” in to help

“Someone suggested that Soles4Shoes might be a service project for our SGA,” said Cash, who is president of the association. “The more we learned about Soles4Shoes, the more we knew it was something that we wanted to do.”

The SGA made a school-wide plea for shoes, old or new, and the response was overwhelming.

“A lot of the shoes were athletic shoes but we got all kinds of shoes and all sizes,” said Pinckard, SGA vice president. “The response was better than with other drives that we’ve had. We’ve had canned food drives and we’ve gotten a lot of cans of food but nothing like the number of shoes we’ve gotten.”

Cash said old shoes are something that people already have at home.

“So, you don’t have to go out and buy anything to donate and, too, most people want to get rid of the old shoes anyway,” she said.

“It’s heartbreaking that there are people who are so proud of things that we want to get rid of.”

The Soles4Souls campaign has made the students at PLAS more aware of the plight of others around the world and more appreciative of what they have, the SGA officers said.

In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami that hit Southeast Asia, the American footwear industry donated more than a quarter million shoes to victims in the devastated countries.

When Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, more than a million pairs of shoes were donated to the communities affected by the hurricane.

A year later, Wayne Elsey founded Sole4Souls with the purpose of changing the world one pair at a time.

The SGA at Pike Liberal Arts is proud to be a part of an organization with such a noble purpose.

“The SGA does a lot of other service projects including our canned food drive. We collected about 600 cans of food for the Department of Human Resources,” Cash said.

“We also have a blood drive and our powder-puff football game is a fundraiser for Relay for Life. We have a cookie dough sale that is a fundraiser for things that we need here at the school.”

We like doing things that help others.”

PLAS students in grades nine through 12 are required to complete 75 hours of community service over the four-year period.

The SGA officers said being involved in the community is a rewarding, learning experience and they look forward to finding new ways to be a part of the community.