BIG RAPIDS – The Ferris State University Athletics department has added yet another important and worthwhile cause to its charitable efforts.
The Bulldogs, in partnership with Dr. Jeff Mossel and the Big Rapids Foot and Ankle Clinic, have donated more than 300 pairs of athletic shoes to the “Soles4Souls” organization, an international shoe charity.
Soles4Souls facilitates large donations of new or gently worn shoes from various footwear companies, retailers, churches, nonprofit ministries, civic groups, schools and individuals across the country. The shoes are then given to people throughout the world who desperately need footwear.
“In a continued effort to partner with local businesses and organizations, we’re proud of this partnership and opportunity to support such a worthy cause,” said Ferris Associate Athletics Director Jon Coles. “Dr. Mossel is a true fan of Bulldog Athletics, and we thank him for his support of FSU and this important project.”
The Soles4Souls effort began in 2004 during the aftermath of the tsunami that hit Southeast Asia, where nearly three out of four people were barefoot. Now, Soles4Souls sends more than 2 million pairs of shoes per year to more than 125 countries. In the United States, Soles4Souls donates shoes to homeless shelters and battered women’s centers. Overseas, many people have started micro-businesses refurbishing and selling shoes to aid the efforts.
To date, more than 10 million pairs of shoes have been donated to people in need throughout the world. A new pair of shoes is donated to the cause nearly every seven seconds.
Many of the shoes donated by Ferris Athletics were purchased for and utilized on the Bulldogs’ previous artificial-turf football playing surface at Top Taggart Field and are no longer needed with the recent installation of the new Mondo Ecofill field.
“Thousands of people all over the world have inadequate shoes for work, sport and daily activities,” Mossel said. “Inadequate shoes lead to multiple foot injuries daily, which often go untreated.
“Through collaboration in our community, we will change hundreds of lives by providing quality shoes for athletes in need,” he added. “FSU continues to find innovative ideas to integrate Bulldog Athletics into the community and we’re proud to support these efforts.”
Soles4Souls accepts all types of shoes: athletic, running, dress, sandals, pumps, heels, work boots, cleats, dance and flip flops, as long as they are new or gently worn. Additionally, monetary donations are accepted and can be made online via the Soles4Souls Web site.
In addition to this program, Soles4Souls hosts thousands of collection events across North America, including marathons, schools, churches and more. Many local shoe retailers also offer discounts on new shoes in exchange for older donated pairs.
For more information on Soles4Souls, visit www.soles4souls.org.