Kelowna shoemaker puts the soul in shoe drive

Volunteers help sort donated shoes and boots during last year's Soles4Souls shoe drive.
Image Credit: Soles4Souls

KELOWNA – It’s hard to believe the Soles4Souls initiative in Kelowna has collected over 400,000 pairs of shoes over the past four years.

The annual shoe drive is part of an international effort to put shoes on the millions of people around the world that go shoeless.

“Our goal is for every ten pairs we collect, five of them got to British Columbians,” Soles4Souls Canada chair Jim Belshaw of Kelowna said as he announced this year’s campaign. It runs for the month of April.

“Fifty per cent of everything we collect stays in the province and helps our friends, our neighbours and people in the street.”

Belshaw, who owns Roy’s Shoes downtown, wants to change the mindset that it's only the homeless that need shoes.

“I know lots of people that go to the food bank. They’re working. They’re struggling. They’re single parents with children to cloth. The last thing they can afford to do is buy a pair of shoes,” he said.

“We can supply them with that.”

The organization works with Shelter Net B.C. and Food Banks B.C, which help get the donated shoes and boots to 94 food banks and 70 shelters across the province.

The Kelowna Sunrise Rotary Club has announced it will be giving Soles4Souls $10,000 a year for the next five years as part of it’s Million Shoe Mission.

If you have a pair of shoes to donate, check out the Soles4Souls website for a list of locations.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at aproskiw@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.


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