[By Heather Salisbury, Undergraduate Academic Advisor at Regis' DTC Campus] What began as a family project to clean out the closets for good, ended up changing the lives of 1,024 people, all because the Regis University’s College for Professional Studies (CPS) “family” got involved.
As the days grow shorter and the weather grows colder, we move our sandals to the back of the closet and our boots to the front. For many of us, we don’t question whether we will have a pair to wear, but rather, which pair we should wear. There are work shoes, and school shoes, dress shoes and athletic shoes. Our shoes get us where we need to go, rather than stand in the way of where we need to be.
In the United States, and worldwide, going without shoes often means going without an education or employment. Soles4Souls is a nonprofit working to collect and distribute shoes for those in need. This fall, Regis CPS responded with an enthusiastic “YES!” when asked, “Can you spare a pair?”
It all began with an email. My sister and I decided to take part in the Soles4Souls Flippin’ Good Deeds Challenge and host a shoe drive over the course of six weeks. I emailed the staff of the CPS Advising, Marketing, Admissions, and Enrollment teams and asked for their support. All I had to do was ask, and what I got in return were truckloads of shoes. Word of the shoe drive spread through Regis’ Aurora, DTC, and Colorado Springs campuses and the donations piled up.
In only six weeks, one shoe drive yielded 1,024 pairs of shoes, hundreds of those coming from Regis staff, faculty, and even students.
Once I shared my request, the men and women of CPS stepped in, setting up donation boxes and calling me when they were full. Staff reached out to their families and friends, to their neighbors and faith communities. True to the Regis mission, former staff members even got involved, bringing donations to the campuses and helping to tie and bag shoes. Twenty pairs of shoes filled each black bag, with overflowing donation boxes maxing out the space within the back of my truck.
On November 15, Soles4Souls announced that among all the groups that committed to the Good Deeds Challenge, our group was one of the top five finalists. The shoes gathered in and around Denver have traveled to a warehouse in Alabama where they will be sorted and earmarked for distribution in the United States and abroad, to countries such as Haiti, Peru, India, and Tanzania. Teams of volunteers travel to these countries, washing feet, fitting shoes, and in some cases, providing a child or adult with the first pair of shoes he or she has ever owned.
Join Regis University and take a step towards improving the lives of others, in your heels, loafers, cleats, flip-flops or slippers.
For more information on Soles4Souls http://www.soles4souls.org/