I was inspired to start Gotta Have Sole Foundation because at a very young age I saw children in homeless shelters in RI who didn’t have shoes or had shoes that were used and falling apart. Some had to share footwear with a family member and missed school because it wasn’t their turn to wear the shoes that day, and others had sores on their feet from wearing shoes that didn’t fit them properly. I was devastated by this and wanted to help the children however I could. I started donating my gently used clothing and footwear but often didn’t have the correct sizes for the children. I knew that the only shoes that would fit them best would be new, correctly sized ones and hoped someday I would be able to donate these.
Several years later as a community service project for a religious coming-of-age ceremony, which took place in 2010, I started Gotta Have Sole Foundation so I could finally donate new footwear to homeless children. I am proud to say that even though this ceremony has long since passed, I continue this endeavor and have donated new footwear to over 10,000 children in homeless shelters in 21 states throughout the United States. My goal is to reach as many children living in homeless shelters in the US as I can. It has always been my hope that the children will feel more confident about themselves because they have new shoes to call their own and that they will have the same opportunities afforded to them as their peers.
As a way to honor my grandfather who is a WWII veteran, I established SOLEdiers to assist our disabled and needy veterans and their families. This special program provides our veterans with gift cards to footwear stores so they can select the shoes they need, and footwear from our inventory for their children. It is my hope that our veterans who fought so hard for our freedom will feel honored with this token of our appreciation, and that the footwear they purchase will enable them to go on job interviews and participate in daily activities.
The second new program is called, Serving Love, through which I provide disadvantaged children with the proper sporting footwear so they can participate in the sports of their choice. Sports provide children with the opportunity to stay in shape and to engage in activities with their peers. They also boost self-esteem and confidence. I am currently working with organizations that provide free tennis lessons, and will be expanding to include other sports.
If you would like more information about Gotta Have Sole Foundation, Inc., or would like to make a product donation, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by writing or calling me at the contact information below. Monetary donations can be made securely on our web site by pressing the DONATE button which takes you to PayPal. For your records, our 501(c)(3) number is 27-1992301. Additionally, please follow Gotta Have Sole Foundation, Inc., on Facebook to see our progress! Thank you for your consideration.
SOLEdiers, I launched this program in April 2013 to honor my grandfather, who is a WWII veteran. SOLEdiers provides gift cards to footwear retailers to our nation’s veterans who are living on or below the poverty line so they can purchase the footwear they need. This program also donates new footwear for their children. Through Operation Stand Down RI, I have donated gift cards to 65 veterans, and will be donating gift cards to over 500 veterans during their upcoming retreat scheduled for September 20-22 at Diamond Hill Park in Cumberland, RI. While currently available in RI and soon-to-be MA, plans are underway to take this program nationally.
Serving Love, a new program I launched in the fall of 2012 donates new sporting footwear to children from disadvantaged homes, who want to play sports but lack the proper footwear to do so. I am currently working with a local non-profit in RI that provides tennis lessons at no charge to