Soles4Souls Inc., a not-for-profit institution dedicated to fighting poverty through the distribution of shoes and clothing, is teaming up with this year’s 196.3-mile Ragnar Relay Race to collect used shoes that will support the organization’s international micro-enterprise programs, which create vitally-needed jobs and personal income in Haiti and other impoverished nations.
Presented by Nashville-based Healthways, Inc., the Tennessee Ragnar Relay on Oct. 25-26, covers approximately 200 miles, from Chattanooga to Nashville, and is followed by a party at the Country Music Hall of Fame. The party will be held from 12-7 p.m. with food and beverages, a shoe distribution for local children in need from 12-3 p.m. and live music from 3-6 p.m. Ragnar races are held in eleven cities each year and attract runners from across the nation and overseas. The Tennessee event will see over 3,500 runners.
This year, Tennessee Ragnar runners, supporters and fans are being asked to donate their used shoes to Soles4Souls, which since its founding in 2007 has distributed more than 20 million pairs of shoes around the world to help reverse the impact of poverty and disasters. Many of these shoes would otherwise end up in landfills along with the other 700 million pairs of shoes that Americans throw away every year. Shoe donations will be collected at the race’s finish line party. Last year’s partnership enabled Soles4souls to distribute 4,770 pairs of shoes to those in need.
“Ragnar Relay Series is proud to once again partner with Soles4Souls to help collect shoes for those in need,” said Jesse Regan, Race Director of the Ragnar Relay Tennessee event. “As an organization, Ragnar Relay Series is committed to helping organizations and communities throughout our courses make the world a better place, and through this partnership we’re providing an avenue for our runners to easily recycle their old shoes while helping people around the globe.”
Soles4Souls has distributed more than 20 million pairs of shoes around the world with the help of partners like the Tennessee Ragnar Relay. With one in every four adults in the world living in extreme poverty, basic necessities like shoes are simply unavailable. In developing nations like Haiti, Honduras, and Tanzania, walking is the main form of transportation, and shoes can protect a person’s feet from cuts and infections. Also, children in other parts of the world cannot attend school without a pair of shoes.
"We are excited that individuals like those running the Ragnar Relay are working with us to help end the perpetuation of poverty by providing used shoes and micro-jobs to individuals in other countries,” said Buddy Teaster, CEO of Soles4Souls. “Please join in this initiative to collect gently worn footwear, and possibly improve the quality of someone’s daily life. Shoes can enable someone to step out of poverty.”
For more information on the Ragnar Relay Tennessee event, visit www.ragnarrelay.com/tennessee. For more information on how to get involved and donate, visit www.giveshoes.org.