I spent the entire month of May organizing and hosting a shoe drive locally, which also led to a lag in adding articles which are now up.  The purpose of this blog post, however, is to bring attention to a great organization through which I organized the shoe drive.  It is called Soles4Souls and they have been distributing shoes nationally and internationally for a number of years.  What I like best is their policy $1 = 1 pair.  For every dollar that gets donated, a person in need gets a pair of shoes.  They have a system for allowing individuals, organizations, or communities come together and hold a shoe drive - with the same concept of a food drive, but for shoes.  They provide the materials - collection boxes, informational brochures, etc.

After learning that shoe drives normally last a month long, I arranged for it to take place throughout the month of May at local businesses where people could bring their shoes to donate, and at Wal-Mart and Stater Bros. I was also collecting money donations.  While I was unable to get any volunteers to help me, I managed to collect 241 whole pairs of shoes, 40 half pairs, and 335 dollars.  While it was time-consuming, it was well worth it and I suggest it to anyone, because we can all make a difference and create even a little bit of change in the world.

Many people know that having no shoes is a major problem around the world and here in America, but don't realize how easy it is for them to help.  Other people don't realize the extent that the problem goes to, such as completely preventable diseases with proper foot hygiene.  Giving your shoes to a thrift store will often lead to them simply being thrown in the trash, not even recycled, because stores get so much excess donated. 

When it comes down to it, everyone has a dollar.  Whether it's from your couch cushions or the change from your daily Starbucks coffee, everyone can afford a dollar to donate to a person in need receiving a pair of shoes. 

So give a buck, and change someones luck.
On this Friday, April 16th, 2010 thousands of individuals, schools, and communities are participating in Day of Silence. This day is a nationally held event to bring attention to and create awareness for harrassment, violence, and bullying towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual people, as well as those assumed to be LGBTQQIA. By being silent, whether it is for an hour, just during school or lunch or work breaks, we can work together to fight against a problem that is very prominent in our school systems and occur on a daily basis and are often ignored by teachers, educators, and school officials.

Please check out
http://www.dayofsilence.org to find out what YOU can do! As long as this problem is affecting even ONE person, it is affecting us ALL as a society, and it becomes your responsibility to prevent it.

A few other great organizations that are fighting this cause and promoting awareness are GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network), The Trevor Project, and PFLAG (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays).
On this coming Thursday, April 8th, 2010, there is a nationally held event called One Day Without Shoes. This day is to spread awareness about the millions of children in developing countries who, for one reason or another, cannot own shoes.  To help end this, TOMS Shoes created One Day Without Shoes, held every year around the nation to collect donations and spread awareness about the project.  By going one day without your shoes, you not only find out how hard it really is, but YOU can spread awareness to others.

If you are unable to donate and/or go shoeless at the moment, there's still plenty you can do! Make a shirt to wear, pin information about the day to your clothing, TALK to people about it, and have things to hand out!

You can visit
http://www.onedaywithoutshoes.com for more ideas, events in your community, and to learn more about what ODWS is all about.  TOMS Shoes has a One for One policy, which is a policy that for every pair of shoes you buy, they donate a new pair of shoes to a child who is in need of them.  You can visit http://www.TOMS.com for more information! 

Another great organization that you can donate to is Soles4Souls; 1 dollar donates 1 pair of shoes, so just think of how many people would be reached with 10, 25, or 50 dollars! Whatever is in your budget is possible.  You can donate and learn more about Soles4Souls here:
http://www.soles4souls.org/donate/.  So next time you want to buy a pack of gum or breath mints, put it in your pocket for someone else's next pair of shoes!