Holy Cross School collects 1,035 pairs of shoes for Soles4Souls

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From left, Holy Cross School third-graders Nicole Duca, Brook Stump, Kyle VanHenkle and Cassidy Powell show off the haul of shoes. (Submitted photos)

DOVER — Holy Cross School launched a Soles4Souls shoe drive from Nov. 20 to Dec. 21 with the school collecting 1,035 pairs of shoes to help the poor — beating its goal of 1,000 pairs.

The shoes that Holy Cross School collected will be delivered to Soles4Souls, an international anti-poverty organization that monetizes used shoes and clothing to create sustainable jobs and fund direct relief efforts, including distribution of new shoes and clothing.

Founded in 2006, the organization has distributed more than 26 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries.

“Holy Cross School supported Soles4Souls because it is the definition of a social enterprise where solid business practices are used to create positive

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Holy Cross third-graders Kyle VanHenkle, left, and Cassidy Powell assist in the Soles4Souls shoe drive.

change in people’s lives,” said Heather Swartzentruber, Holy Cross music teacher.

“Holy Cross School is a strong supporter of Soles4Souls’ anti-poverty mission, and we took a big step in providing the organization with the used shoes they require to keep making a difference for people in need. We want to thank the community for helping us reach our goal.”

Soles4Souls — which holds the highest rating from nonprofit watchdog Charity Navigator — will convert every used pair of shoes collected from the community into a value-added social currency to achieve positive change, both humanitarian and economic.

Most of the reusable shoes will be distributed to microenterprise programs that create jobs in Haiti and other poor nations. The resulting revenue will help fund the free distribution of new shoes in the U.S. and overseas. Among its relief programs, the organization has distributed over 200,000 new pairs of shoes to help Philippine victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

The World Bank estimates that approximately 400 million children worldwide — more than the entire U.S. population — live in pronounced poverty. Millions of these children will grow up never having had a pair of shoes, resulting in significant ramifications for their health and well-being.

Lacking proper footwear, countless children will not be able or permitted to attend school. And tens of millions of these poverty-stricken, barefoot boys and girls will be infected with soil-transmitted parasitic diseases like hookworm, causing lasting suffering and lifelong debilitation.

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