Stepping up: 2 boys on a mission to collect 25,000 pairs of shoes for Soles4Souls
In the Summer of 2019, Ben Blount and Santiago Bryce, along with their 3 brothers, set out on a mission to collect 10,000 pairs of shoes to help create economic opportunities for people in need in developing countries. What started out as a neighborhood shoe drive has now become a larger community effort.
Starting a shoe drive can come with its challenges, which Ben and Santiago can attest to. Realizing that knocking on doors to solicit donations of new and gently worn shoes wouldn’t be enough, the boys got creative by reaching out to their community. They partnered with local schools, churches, youth groups and service organizations to raise awareness of the power of a pair of shoes to help lift people out of poverty. After success from those initial efforts, the boys went on to secure partnerships with local footwear companies such as VANS and Bear Creek Running Co. They even reached out to celebrities like Post Malone!
Collecting 10,000 pairs of shoes is not a simple task, but when they reached their initial goal, the boys earned a custom new shoe distribution. Bryce recalls that “gifting brand new athletic shoes to kids in need and seeing them smile and walk with confidence in their new shoes made it all worthwhile.” This encouraged the boys to continue working towards their goal. “Seeing how excited the kids were to have new shoes on their feet made it all worth the effort,” Blount says.
After three years, Santiago and Ben collected and donated 10,000 pairs of shoes to Soles4Souls, but they set out to do more! To reach their new 25K goal, they are partnering with local businesses and community organizations. “Seeing the power of a pair of shoes has given us the motivation to continue this drive over the past five years,” says Blount.
Through their unwavering determination and perseverance, the boys have already collected and donated more than 14,000 pairs of shoes. Soles4Souls is extremely excited to partner with Ben and Santiago and is thankful for their dedication to changing the world – one shoe at a time.
If you are interested in donating, please drop off your shoes in the Soles4Souls box at the Southlake Fire Station – 600 State Street – inside the Fire Station entrance on the south side of the building. Donations can be made 24 hours a day.