On Wednesday, a unique campaign kicked off in Kelowna with the Roy’s Shoes Soles4Souls shoe campaign.
Roy's Shoes, at 1627 Ellis Street in Kelowna has teamed up with the Kelowna Sunshine Rotary Club and committed to collect one million pairs of shoes within the next 5 years.
This year’s goal is to collect 100,000 pairs in 25 days. That's a significant increase over last year when the campaign collected over 40,000 pairs of Shoes in 25 days.
If the first couple of days is any indication, the goal is attainable.
"I've got four or five boxes filled up many times here already," says Jim Belshaw, the owner of Roy's Shoes.
"Now that we have spread out all the way to Osoyoos, we're on the Island, in the Kootenay's, Kamloops has come on strong, so I think doubling or tripling last year's efforts is going to be an easy thing to do."
Last year 7,000 pairs of the 40,000 pairs of shoes collected remained in the Okanagan and were distributed out to the community through agencies like Gospel Mission, Now Canada, Kelowna Women’s Shelter and the Friendship Centre.
The remaining shoes were shipped to a Soles4Souls sorting centre in Nevada where they were resorted and shipped to the people most in need, primarily Haiti last year.
It's estimated every person has at least three or four pairs of shoes in their closet that are not worn any more but still in good shape. Belshaw hopes people will clean out their closets and convince friends, neighbours and relatives to do the same. Or, if they like, make a donation of new footwear.
"We had a lady yesterday who went to a store that had a sale on kids shoes. She bought over a dozen pairs of kids shoes and brought those in." says Belshaw.
All footwear including sandals and boots are accepted and needed, but please remember to tie the shoes together or use elastic bands to hold the shoes in pairs.
If you’re interested in supporting Soles4Souls’ relief efforts, you can drop off shoes at Roy’s Shoes, All Capri Insurance, Marks Work Wearhouse, McDonalds and OK Tire Shops, or anyone of the drop off locations listed at www.soles4soulscanada.com or call Roy’s Shoes 250-763-5696 for more information.
You can also make a cash donation that goes a long way.
"Last year, we could buy a brand new pair of sandals for $2.50. We've now bought so many shoes through head office that we can buy a brand new pair of shoes for a dollar." says Belshaw.
To make a cash donation go to www.kelownasunriserotary.com and click on link.
Since it’s inception in 2005 Soles4Souls have distributed over 13.5 million pairs of shoes, supports 127 countries and is committed to assisting Japan with 100,000 pairs of shoes already shipped with more to come.
Whether it’s Southeast Asia, New Orleans, Haiti, Africa, or Japan, Soles4Souls is committed to helping people in the midst of extreme poverty and those recovering from natural disasters by providing shoes that will protect them from disease and provide them a sense of hope for a better tomorrow.