How Your Used Shoes Help Provide New Shoes

July 21, 2016

At Soles4Souls, we talk a lot about the power of our micro-enterprise efforts and how your donations of used and new shoes are turned into food, shelter, education and healthcare in the developing world. We’ve shared stories about Marie Ange in Haiti, Tracy and Natalia in Honduras and the Bernadas family in the Philippines.

We also like to share about how our business model of selling those used shoes, for example, allows us to be as entrepreneurial as the women who work hard to sell them. That those shoes matter in ways that go far beyond what you can imagine as you clean out your closet, or do a shoe drive, or collect them for your birthday. But there’s one thing that we haven’t talked about as much: How those used shoes allow us to distribute hundreds of thousands of pairs of new shoes to people in need in the United States and around the world. So let’s dig into that.

We have a small but powerful team of 35 people who work heart and soul for Soles4Souls. We have buildings, electric bills, tractor trailers, and crazy amounts of shipping bills spent to send shoes to dozens of countries every year. These costs are totally covered by our micro-enterprise work. That means that every donated dollar goes directly into getting new shoes on the feet of those in need. This month, that has meant shoes for those wiped out by flooding in West Virginia, decimated by the wild fires in Alberta, Canada and shoes for several villages in the Congo.

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We work really hard to run an organization that has a big impact and do it effectively. If you look at our Charity Navigator ratings , you’ll see we’re incredibly efficient with our resources so that when you generously donate money or shoes or clothes to Soles4Souls, you can be sure that we’re putting as much of your contribution to work as possible. Over 95% of our funds go directly to our programs to help those in need. 

Shoe Distribution in the CongoWe strive to consistently provide apparent information to you, our donor. We know that this couldn’t be done without you. And the more you understand what we do, the stronger we are at getting it done. It’s only because so many of you, thousands and thousands of kind, generous supporters who provide shoes, clothes, money and a willingness to tell others, that we’ve distributed more than 26 million pairs of shoes since we started 10 years ago. And that’s one black and white number we can all be proud of.