August 22, 2018
Here at Soles4Souls, it is impossible to talk about our impact without acknowledging the fundamental engine that keeps our organization running. The force that propels us forward and allows Soles4Souls to continue creating opportunity, serving those in need and protecting the environment. The people who inspire our team and overall mission day in and day out.
We are talking about the hundreds of thousands of people who clean out their closets and collect shoes to donate to Soles4Souls each year. The hardworking groups who help sort and load product every day in our warehouses all across the country and world. The dedicated travelers who give their time, energy and love on international trips to bring the gift of new shoes to children in need.
Our network of volunteers.
Soles4Souls’ impact simply would not be possible without them, which is why we are thrilled to recognize two special volunteers in particular who have made outstanding contributions to our impact this past year. The 2018 recipients of the Michele James Volunteer of the Year Award are Pam and Claire Baker!
A mother and daughter duo based in Maple Grove, Minn., Pam and Claire Baker have poured their hearts into Soles4Souls for over six years. Whether it be distributing new coats to people in need in their hometown, diverting literally hundreds of thousands of shoes from their local landfills or traveling over 2,000 miles to bring hope and love to children in developing countries, the two have embraced every aspect of our mission wholeheartedly.
Pam and Claire have spearheaded our collection efforts in Minnesota and selflessly serve as local donation coordinators. In total, the Bakers have collected 400,000 pairs of shoes for Soles4Souls’ micro-enterprise program since 2012.
When those shoes are put in the hands of our entrepreneurs, who rely on the product to make a living and support their families, the impact is truly remarkable. To put the Baker’s collection efforts in perspective, the income earned by selling just one pair of shoes can help an entrepreneur in Haiti provide up to five meals for their family. This means that Pam and Claire’s donations thus far have equated to more than 2 million meals for families in need.
Pam and Claire have also traveled to Haiti with Soles4Souls multiple times to distribute new shoes to children in need through our travel program. They opened their hearts to the communities Soles4Souls serves and helped bring health, hope and happiness to countless children in need through the gift of shoes.
In addition to their global influence, however, the duo is also committed to serving those in need close to their home. Over the years, Pam and Claire have helped facilitate the distribution of new shoes and clothing to people in need at numerous Soles4Souls events in the Minneapolis area.
Most recently, Pam and Claire volunteered to help Soles4Souls distribute 250 pairs of new shoes to people in need with Minnesota-based non-profit Loaves and Fishes, where our team surprised the deserving duo with the Michele James Volunteer of the Year Award.
Experience the emotional event in the video below.
The Michele James Volunteer of the Year award is something we are very proud of, as it was named after the wonderful Michele James who, in addition to collecting over 500,000 pairs of shoes to support our mission, continues to serve as an incredible embodiment of Soles4Souls’ values.
To Pam, Claire, and all of our volunteers that so generously supported our mission this past year: thank you.