Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Worth of Soles...

Some months ago I was moved by an organization called Shoe4Africa. There are so many good causes out there to donate your time and money to, but some just particularly speak to you and drive you to action. This was one of those for me. Maybe it's that I'm the wife of a foot doctor...more likely though, I think what drew me to it was the simple, easy way that anyone could make a difference with very little time or money. Just like I said a few months ago during my post on cord blood - it's just a matter of awareness.

So! I have started putting together a shoe drive for shoe4africa to send used shoes (particularly running shoes) to Kibera - Africa's second largest slum. Partners in Medicine, a nonprofit organization that I sit on the board for, has generously agreed to sponsor this philanthropy project - and they will be paying to ship all shoes that I can get my hands on! This is where YOU come in! Yes, you. If you are reading this, you can help.

I am accepting donations, large or small, of used running shoes - and they can either be dropped off at my house, mailed to me, or I can arrange a pick up if you live relatively close to me. You can email me at holly@utahpim.com. And, if you feel particularly moved by this cause, then organize a simple shoe drive in your neighborhood, church, workplace, etc! Most people have old running shoes (which will end up in a landfill somewhere) that could help drastically improve the quality of someone's life!

Please take 2 minutes and watch this short video clip:

Since you are still reading this post, I'll assume that your interested. So here's some more information on the project: Shoe4Africa is “dedicated to promoting social empowerment, health initiatives and AIDS awareness”. They do most of this by sponsoring running races & soccer leagues where donated shoes/cleats are provided to participants, and have thereby reached communities otherwise resistant to traditional HIV/AIDS initiatives. The organization has been very popular in Africa and highly successful at accomplishing its initiatives. They recently have even begun collecting donations to build a children's hospital there! (feel free to read details about that on their website)

Another goal of the organization is hookworm reduction (which they state 92% of students age 8-20 have). The intestinal worms enter the body through the feet and affect everything from a child’s cognitive development to a woman’s ability to carry a child full-term (and, yes, that really is a picture of a hookworm parasite). The Kibera slums have an incredibly high mortality rate. Your donated shoes could help decrease the rate of diseases spread through the foot, as well as drastically improve someone's overall health, happiness, and perhaps even length of life. So please, consider donating a pair of used running shoes or cleats.

If you are interested in hearing more about how the shoe4africa organization started, and what it's developed into (and would like to see some footage, pun intended, of the people benefiting from it) here is another you tube clip for you:

And, lastly, don't forget that Uncle Sam has given us the incentive to give charitable contributions. Yes, this counts as a tax deduction if you itemize on your taxes. So, even though I'm sure you'd be donating shoes for humanitarian reasons, there's certainly nothing wrong with giving yourself a little tax break along the way, right? Now, I'm certainly no tax guru, but I did a quick search and this link includes pretty easy to understand information on when/how to do that.

I am planning on sending off the shipment of shoes in September, but the sooner you can get shoes to me (and start your own shoe drive if you feel so inclined) the better! Thanks for reading this post, and may we all be more grateful for the comfortable, sanitary conditions that we are able to enjoy each day.

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