On March 8, students on the Green Team at William H. Hatch Elementary donated 154 pairs of shoes to Share Your Soles, a Chicago-based charity dedicated to sharing gently worn and new shoes to those in greatest need. The Hatch Green Team is a student club that is focused on learning about the environment and taking action to make the planet and school greener and cleaner.
“We are very proud of our students who worked so hard to keep these unwanted shoes out of landfills,” says Sarah Mendez, principal. “Not only does this help the environment, but it teaches our children to be thoughtful of what happens to items they no longer need and how to reuse and repurpose things. “It’s been so exciting to see our shoe collection bin overflowing for the past few weeks. This is a great way for the students to help others and learn about people in other parts of the world.”
Share Your Soles provides shoes worldwide as well as in the United States. Founder and Executive Director Mona Purdy started the organization in 1999, after traveling to Guatemala where she witnessed children painting hot tar on the soles of their feet because they did not have shoes to wear. Since then, she has been committed to providing shoes for as many children as possible.
The charity has shared shoes with over 40 locations around the world and currently sends shoes to locations in Central and South America, such as Mexico, Haiti, and Nicaragua. Shoes also go to Africa to places such as Uganda, Cameroon, and Nigeria. Share Your Soles provides shoes to distressed communities in the U.S., including certain Indian Reservations and various schools in Chicago and in Flint, Michigan.
This marks the fourth year Hatch Elementary has coordinated the shoe drive for Share Your Soles.