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Barefoot4Them events to be held on October 10th in several cities across the United States
NASHVILLE, Tenn., Oct. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Thousands of Souls4Soles, Inc. supporters across nine countries have promised to go barefoot tomorrow to promote awareness for the estimated 300 million poor children around the world who don't own a single pair of shoes.
Thursday, October 10, 2013 is the second annual Barefoot4Them Day, an event created by Nashville-based charity Soles4Souls, which since its founding in 2007 has collected and distributed more than 20 million pairs of used shoes in the U.S. and 127 impoverished nations.
Some 10,000 people have signed up to go barefoot on behalf of a man, woman or child helped by Soles4Souls. Many of those participants will post photographs of their bare feet on Facebook and other social media sites, helping to build awareness and support for the organization's mission. In addition, Barefoot4Them "street events" are planned for a number of cities, including Atlanta, Los Angeles, Toronto, Nashville and others.
Many Soles4Souls supporters are also planning shoe drives in coordination with Barefoot4Them Day. Last year, volunteers and organizations across the U.S. independently organized nearly 15,000 shoes and clothing drives and locations. Those advocates include eight-year-old Reynolds Etheridge, who has already collected 3,000 shoes and was named among the "40 under 40" celebrities in his home town of Asheville, North Carolina. With local media coming to see him, young Etheridge plans to man his collection bin sans footwear tomorrow.
Soles4Souls also receives donated shoes from a number of well-known brands, including Skechers and Reebok.
Soles4Souls is the only global charity based in Nashville, which is known as one of the most vibrant non-profit centers in the U.S. In 2012, the organization reported annual revenues of more than $55 million.
Barefoot4Them day especially emphasizes the plight of the estimated 300 million children around the world who have no shoes -- equal to the entire U.S. population. Millions of these poor children will grow up never having a pair of shoes, with terrible impact on their health and well-being. Lacking proper footwear, countless children will not be able or permitted to attend school. And tens of millions of these barefoot boys and girls will become infected with soil-transmitted parasitic diseases like hookworm, causing lifelong debilitation and suffering.
"The more we can convince people to go barefoot for just a few hours," said Soles4Souls CEO Buddy Teaster, "the more we are able to help those who have no choice because they have no shoes."
"Our consumer society dumps millions of used shoes into landfills every year," said Teaster. "We created Barefoot4Them to politely interrupt that habit, and in return bring awareness to a new generation of sincere people who realize that the shoes they might have thrown away are precious currency in the fight against global poverty."
In addition to making direct distributions, Soles4Souls uses many of the shoes it collects to support its micro-enterprise programs, which create jobs and personal income in impoverished nations like Haiti. The organization plans to expand its micro-enterprise efforts into at least two additional countries over the next year.
There is still time to get involved. Visit www.barefoot4them.org to sign up and receive a picture of the person you are supporting. Then post a picture of your feet on your Facebook or other social media page with the hashtag #barefoot4them. For every photo uploaded with the hashtag, KindRunner.com will donate $1 to Soles4Souls.
"Social media and other awareness generated by our supporters will foment a tidal wave of new awareness," said Teaster. "And that in turn will inspire even more people to donate and collect the hundreds of thousands of shoes we need every year."
For more information, visit www.soles4souls.org.
Soles4Souls is a global not-for-profit institution dedicated to fighting the devastating impact and perpetuation of poverty. The organization advances its anti-poverty mission by collecting new and used shoes and clothes from individuals, schools, faith based institutions, civic organizations and corporate partners, then distributing those shoes and clothes both via direct donations to people in need and by provisioning qualified micro-enterprise programs designed to create jobs in poor and disadvantaged communities. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Soles4Souls is committed to the highest standards of operating and governance, and holds a four-star rating with Charity Navigator. Please visit www.giveshoes.org for more information.
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