Students in the Public Relations Student Society of America at Missouri Southern State University will collect shoes through April 1 to donate to Soles4Souls. The shoes will be sent to children and adults in need in Haiti, which suffered a devastating earthquake in 2010 that affected millions and killed at least 100,000.
“Haiti just spoke to me because it was a very publicized earthquake,” said Sydney Marsellis, a senior public relations major and president of the MSSU student group. “And we have an international mission at Missouri Southern, so I just thought that would be a great place for us to be sending our shoes.”
Donation boxes for new or gently worn shoes will be located on the Missouri Southern campus in Hearnes Hall, Webster Hall, Billingsly Student Center, Plaster Hall and Spiva Library. Shoes may also be dropped off in Room 361 of Webster Hall. Monetary donations will be accepted to offset the cost of shipping once collection has ended.
Marsellis said she organized the campus’ first shoe drive last year after coming across the Soles4Souls website by happenstance. Soles4Souls, a global not-for-profit organization, is dedicated to fighting the negative impact and perpetuation of poverty. It has provided shoes to people in need in 129 countries, including more than 1 million pairs of shoes to orphanages in Central and South America.
The local drive has proved to be a good way to leave a positive impact in the world, Marsellis said.
“One of the reasons that we’re doing this is it’s something that’s not only a meaningful cause and helps people, but it’s also something easy for people to do,” she said. “It’s very easy to donate shoes. It’s kind of a simple thing, but it really does impact someone else’s life.”
Last year’s drive drew 300 pairs of shoes to send to Haiti; the goal this year is to top that and collect 400 pairs. The shoes will be sent to a Soles4Souls site in the United States to be forwarded to specific Haiti locations, Marsellis said.
Leaders at Soles4Souls say that footwear can help eliminate the spread of diseases through the foot and also help children obtain an education, as many schools have footwear requirements.