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Poverty Isn’t Only “Over There”

We often share stories of boys and girls we meet through our work in developing countries. Life on less than $2 per day for these 385 million children means that even essentials go unfulfilled. The harsh realities of extreme poverty slowly tear down their potential—and their dreams. Yet the gift of shoes made possible through your support renews their hope, keeping them safe from injury and debilitating soil-borne diseases; and helping them continue their education, as shoes are often a requirement for school attendance. Thank you!

But we don’t have to travel to Haiti or Tanzania to meet children trapped in poverty. Millions of families in wealthy countries struggle to make ends meet. In the United States, almost 1 in every 5 children lives in households unable to meet their basic needs, including an adequate pair of shoes. And their plight is no less worthy of our attention. Which is why Soles4Souls hosts half of its shoe distribution events right here at home, helping parents bridge an economic gap while helping kids grow up healthy. And the overlap of their experiences with those of children overseas is always a bit surprising.

Take Joshua. He’s a kindergartener in Nevada but, like many students in countries like Honduras, has to walk quite a distance to school. And doing so without a supportive pair of shoes can cause unnecessary impact and stress on his young body, eventually leading to lifelong back, knee and foot pain.“Joshua walks to school every day, so his new tennis shoes will ensure that he doesn’t miss a single day and continues the amazing progress he’s already been making,” says our local nonprofit partner after he slipped on his new pair. That’s the power of a good pair of shoes.

And Maria, Nestor and Juliana. Their parents work hard to make a living in Florida—as hard as others elsewhere—but there’s just not enough left to keep up with their growing little toes. And ill-fitting shoes can seriously impact their feet’s development, causing injuries and deformations. As another partner commented after a distribution, “It’s remarkable how many of our students were wearing the wrong size shoes. Often, they’d come in wearing one size and leave out in something 1.5 or 2 sizes larger.” Their new, properly sized shoes will change their lives.

And Sedrick and Sedra, a brother-sister duo from Memphis. Their eyes lit up as brightly at the sight of their new shoes as any kid in Morocco. For them, these cool kicks mean a boost in confidence and pride, both just as essential for their overall wellbeing. According to her grandmother, Sedra was so enamored with her new shoes that she “Didn’t want to take them off for anything! Not even to sleep!”

As one school year comes to an end and another looms on the horizon, we’re working hard to reach as many children as we can. But we can’t do it without you. For every dollar you give, we can provide one more child a new pair of shoes. Imagine the change you can make in the life of a kid like Joshua or Maria or Sedra with this simple yet meaningful gift. Together, we can prevent poverty from robbing them of the promise of childhood.