Richmond Flying Squirrels help Soles4Souls with donations

Flying Squirrels team up with Soles4Souls

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Richmond Flying Squirrels teamed up with nonprofit Soles4Souls to help sort and pack 500 pairs of donated shoes.

"We're boxing shoes up for kids in the U.S. and other countries that don't have any shoes that aren't fortunate as us in the states," pitcher Garrett Williams said.

Players volunteered their times as they look to give back to the community.

"I love doing things like this," Williams said. "I really don't do it to make me feel better. I do it for the kids and for those who are less fortunate and need the help."

The Soles 4Souls nonprofit is looking to provide stability for families by shipping shoes all around the world.

"They're really helping support humanity it's about giving a hand up to people in need when times get tough," Stephanie Hathaway, Soles4Souls regional donation center manager, said. "We all have probably close to 20 pairs of shoes in our closet, some people might have 20 pairs they don't even wear anymore. Donating those can help shelter an entire family."

The shoes are donated through a program that helps create jobs in developing nations where jobs don't exist.

"If one of the entrepreneurs in our micro enterprise program sells 30 pairs of used shoes, she can now put one of her children in school for one year," Hathaway said.

If you think your old shoes are too dated, think again. They will still take them, as long as they're not in too bad of a condition.

"We take all shoes, any gentile worn shoes or new shoes that you have in your closest you no longer want, and all of those shoes are going into our micro enterprise program," Hathaway said.

Their mission is simple, to provide free shoes to all those in need.

"It's something we take for granted," Hathaway said. "You out grow a pair of shoes or you dislike a new pair of shoes when you buy it, but for these kids in other countries where new shoes are going to, they don't get to be children that long. Kids don't even have shoes, so when they get there first pair of shoes it's the best feeling in the world and to see that smile on their face to know you're making a difference."

The 500 pairs of shoes collected can impact 25 years of shelter, one year of education for 17 students, or 2,500 meals in places like Haiti.

Once 25,000 shoes are gathered, they're sent to the processing center to be sorted, graded and then shipped to their proper countries.

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