Attention anyone with a closet! Those shoes no longer wanted are desperately needed to fight the human tragedy of global poverty.

That’s the message being delivered by A Time 4 Paws, which has launched an ongoing drive to collect shoes to help the poor. Used and new shoes can be dropped off at A Time 4 Paws in Crossville and can be left in the blue recycling bin outside labeled Soles4Souls.

The shoes that A Time 4 Paws collects will be delivered to Soles4Souls, an international anti-poverty organization that monetizes used shoes and clothing to create sustainable jobs and fund direct relief efforts, including distribution of new shoes and clothing. For each pound of shoes collected, A Time 4 Paws will receive 15 cents toward their mission. Founded in 2006, Soles4Souls has distributed more than 25 million shoes in well over 100 countries.

Soles4Souls — which holds the highest rating from nonprofit watchdog Charity Navigator — will convert every used pair of shoes collected from the community into a value-added social currency to achieve positive change, both humanitarian and economic. Most of the reusable shoes will be distributed to microenterprise programs that create jobs in Haiti and other poor nations. The resulting revenue will help fund the free distribution of new shoes in the U.S. and overseas. Among its relief programs, the organization has distributed over 200,000 new pairs of shoes to help Philippine victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

The connection between poverty and shoes is well-documented. The World Bank estimates that approximately 400 million children worldwide — more than the entire U.S. population — live in pronounced poverty. Millions of these children will grow up never having had a pair of shoes, resulting in significant ramifications for 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 poverty-stricken, barefoot boys and girls will be infected with soil-transmitted parasitic diseases like hookworm, causing lasting suffering and lifelong debilitation.

A Time 4 Paws used shoe drive for Soles4Souls information:

• Between July 1 and Dec. 31, bring your used shoes of any kind to A Time 4 Paws, 1201 West Ave., Crossville

• For more information, please contact Tracy Swack at tracys@soles4souls.org.
Founded in 2006, Soles4Souls, Inc. advances the fight against global poverty through social enterprise — a term describing charities that use proven business practices to create positive social change. Each year, Soles4Souls collects millions of used and new shoes from volunteer shoe drives, civic groups, churches and schools, small businesses and big-brand companies. Most reusable shoes are distributed to support micro-enterprise programs, creating and sustaining desperately-needed jobs in Haiti and other poor nations. The resulting revenue that Soles4Souls earns then helps fund free distribution of new shoes and clothing throughout the U.S. and overseas. In the last fiscal year alone, Soles4Souls distributed almost two million pairs of used shoes and 1.9 million pairs of new shoes in North and Central America, Africa and the Caribbean. Soles4Souls is proud to hold a four-star rating for meeting the highest standards of governance and ethics from watchdog organization Charity Navigator.

To learn how you can support Soles4Souls in fighting poverty and human suffering around the world, visit www.soles4souls.org or call them at (615) 391-5723. Soles4Souls headquarters are at 319 Martingale Dr., Old Hickory, TN 37138.