A local company offers the perfect way to clear out your closet for those new Nikes you plan to receive. And your simple act can make a significant difference in the quality of life of someone in need.
The Birkenstock shoe company has partnered with Soles4Souls to support their efforts to impact as many lives as possible with the gift of shoes this holiday season.
Through Jan. 5, 2010, participating Birkenstock retailers across the nation, including the three locations on Maui, will collect donations of footwear and funds to help over 300 million children, and untold numbers of adults, around the world who do not have shoes.
“We participate with the Soles4Souls because this is a great way to help out those in need,” said Terri Zarling, Kihei’s Naturally Birkenstock store manager. “For those without shoes, this offers a new way of life.”
Soles4Souls was given birth as a response to natural disasters, both domestically and internationally, when they coordinated relief efforts for the Asian Tsunami and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, netting donations of over one million pairs.
Donations of gently used or new footwear allow the organization to keep a “ready inventory,” enabling them to respond quickly to meet the needs of disaster victims.
Your donations could make a difference in our own back yard as well as globally. Through this program, shoes have been distributed everywhere from Alabama to Wisconsin, and Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.
One of their greatest challenges is providing quality shoes to those who may be on foot 365 days a year. Shoes regularly go to these homeless shelters, poor families, abused and neglected children and women in domestic abuse shelters. Around the globe, donations go to abandoned and orphaned children, who cherish a pair of shoes more than something to eat or even a new toy.
And if you’d like to see how your shoe donations are being used, sign up for a chance to travel along with the Soles4Souls team and witness first-hand the excitement of a child who receives what may have been his or her very first pair of shoes.
While you’re doing that sole searching, give a call to your local school and ask if they need shoes and slippers. There are many in need right here on Maui.
Donations can be dropped off at Naturally Birkenstock at the Longs Drugs Center, 1215 S. Kihei Road, Unit G; 340 Hana Highway in Kahului; and 910 Honoapi‘ilani Highway in Lahaina. Call 874-3451 for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the program, or starting your own shoe drive, visit www.giveshoes.org.