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Soles4Souls Handing Out Shoes in the Slums of Venezuela

To: National Desk

Contact: Angela Foglesong, Knot Limited, LLC at 615-604-1879 or 334-863-6628

MARACAIBO, Venezuela and NASHVILLE, June 20 /Christian Newswire/ -- In the slums of Maracaibo, Venezuela, bare-footed people rummage through filth for food, clothing, tools, and materials.  They eat the garbage that even the poor throw away.  These slums are full of disease, poverty, and desperate people.  And yet today you will find that many people in this poverty-stricken region have new shoes, courtesy of Soles4Souls and caring local ministers who wade into the slums to offer the basics in human dignity.

Teva and New Balance sandals were recently distributed to these Venezuelans by local pastors, whose members minister to the villages surrounding Maracaibo.  Pastors Edgar and Miguel brought hundreds of pairs of shoes donated through Soles4Souls, a US-based non-profit group whose primary aim is to provide footwear to people who don't have shoes.

"It's a simple gesture but it can mean a lot to people who have to rummage through the trash everyday," said Paul Wilson, President of Soles4Souls.  "Considering that Americans have over 1.5 billion pairs of shoes sitting in their closets, it's the least that we can do to provide a small amount of pride and comfort to people without either."


Soles4Souls is an ongoing worldwide effort, and the slums of Maracaibo are the simply the latest stop.  Shoes are being handed out in poor regions of Ecuador, and the team is also sending over 85,000 pairs of shoes to barefoot people in Uganda, Africa.  According to Wilson, Soles4Souls continually needs new and used footwear donations, as well as cash donations to help with freight and operating expenses.


Soles4Souls was established to make a difference in people's lives with the gift of shoes.  It began with the Asian Tsunami Relief Drive, when Wayne Elsey, President of Kodiak-Terra USA, Inc. called on his colleagues in the shoe industry to step up and donate shoes.  18 months later, Soles4Souls established itself as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and has collected and distributed over 1 million pairs of shoes, both used and new.  Last year, over 3/4 million pairs were sent to the region affected by Hurricane Katrina.


This year, the Soles4Souls team is arranging citywide footwear drives, like the current drive in San Diego (www.soles4souls.org/sandiego) and over 20 planned in the next few months.


For more information, visit the non-profit's website at www.soles4souls.org or call 334-TO-DONATE (334-863-6628).