One person’s unwanted shoes can help provide meaningful opportunities that many in developing nations need, which is why Windom Area Health recently partnered with the Lions Club to host a shoe drive to collect new or gently-worn shoes.

Masters stands at the base of the mountain of shoes collected by Windom Area Health employees and visitors, alongside Lions Club representatives from left, Jerry Christopherson, Glen Kuhnau, and Jim Krueger.

Emily Masters, Chief Human Relations Officer explains, “This is the second time we’ve partnered with the Lions for a shoe drive and both have been very successful. Windom Area Health does the promotion and shoe collection, and the Lions are wonderful about coming and taking them off our hands and doing the transport to the distribution center.”

The shoes will be delivered to Soles4Souls–a non-profit social enterprise that creates sustainable jobs and provides relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world. The organization has distributed more than 30 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes in 127 countries.

The World Bank estimates that approximately 767 million people live on less than $1.90 per day. Many people living in extreme poverty simply do not have access to stable employment. Soles4Souls’ micro-enterprise programs offer a long-term solution to poverty through job creation in places like Haiti, Honduras and Sierra Leone.

“I am a strong supporter of Soles4Souls’ mission,” said Masters. “To know that we can create meaningful impact around the globe, while keeping a mountain of shoes out of our landfills is a great feeling.”

The shoes are sold for an average of $1 per pair to non-profit partners in developing countries that provide business training to local entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs purchase the shoes and are then able to start businesses of their own selling the product in their local marketplaces. According to Soles4Souls, the income generated by selling just one pair of shoes in Haiti can provide up to five meals for a family in need, whereas 30 pairs sold by an entrepreneur in Honduras can provide up to a year of schooling for a child. Visit soles4souls.org to learn more.

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