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Let someone walk a mile in your shoes

Faith Baptist Church is seeking some shoes for people to fill.

The church, in conjunction with Soles4Souls™ will collect “gently worn” shoes at Country Days that will be distributed to people in need. The shoe drive will be held Saturday and Sunday at a booth in downtown Farmington.

Through the Soles4Souls™ charity, the shoes will be donated to go to people around the world. The Nashville-based organization has distributed more than 4.3 million pairs of new and used shoes to people in more than 125 countries, including Honduras, Uganda, Romania and the United States. 

Sunday’s collection will end “Barefoot Week,” during which church members across the country will donate their shoes during services, said David Graven, executive vice president for Soles4Souls™. Recipients of the shoes might live in poverty or be victims of a natural disaster. Organizers of Barefoot Week hope that walking out to their cars barefoot after service will show people how important a simple pair of shoes is to those who have none.

“When you are walking without shoes, you have to look down to see where you are stepping,” Graven said. “ But a pair of shoes lets people look ahead. That transfers to life as well.”

During Barefoot Week, the charity will donate 50,000 new shoes to homeless youth and families in need in Indianapolis, Atlanta, Birmingham, Los Angeles and Portland.

Soles4Souls™ estimates that Americans have 1.5 billion pairs of unused shoes in their closets. The charity processes 40,000 to 60,000 pairs of shoes every day, Graven said. The shoes are sorted as men’s, women’s or children’s, and are separated by type, such as athletic, work or dress shoes. Before shoes are distributed, the organization determines who will receive the shoes and what type of footgear they need.

“When we distribute the shoes, we want to give them ones that fit and the type that are really needed,” Graven said. “We’re not just looking to pat ourselves on the back for donating some shoes.”

The charity donates or recycles all the shoes they receive. Most people donate good shoes, but about three percent are not acceptable and are recycled, he added.

Individuals and companies who would like to donate shoes other than through the Country Days booth can do so through the charity’s Web site at http://www.soles4souls.org. 

Paula Barr is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 172 or at pbarr@dailyjournalonline.com.

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