Haiti + 3 more

Soleful' project provides shoes for the needy

by Pat Grauer and Ann Cook, College of Osteopathic Medicine
The MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM) is providing a little Heart and Sole to needy people around the world. Heart and Sole is a charitable project created by MSUCOM that provides new and gently used shoes to the poorest of the world's people. Since the project began in 1999, more than 3,000 pairs of shoes have been shipped around the world.

In many poor nations - where people often live surrounded by environmental hazards - decent footwear is a luxury. Many of the people, especially children, simply do not have shoes. This hinders them from finding work or even going to school.

Members of the MSUCOM staff have received donations of footwear from individuals, researchers in the college and other organizations. The shoes are boxed and sent out as funds allow.

Specifically, in 2004, the project donated 433 pairs of shoes in Haiti, 241 pairs in Malawi, 171 in Kenya, and 64 in the country of Benin.

So far in 2005, 245 pairs of shoes have been donated in Kenya, 74 pairs in Malawi, 59 pairs to a Head Start program in Appalachia, and 50 pairs in Tanzania.

How can you help?

- Donate shoes.

Heart and Sole is always looking for new or gently used shoes that can be shared with needy families. Currently, only tennis shoes or school shoes are being accepted.

- Donate money.

Heart and Sole organizers have found that gathering shoes is quite easy, but obtaining the funds required to ship them abroad is difficult. One box of 10 to 15 pairs of shoes can cost as much as $40 to ship overseas and Heart and Sole currently has a supply of shoes waiting to be sent out but lacks the funds to do so. Those wishing to donate can make checks payable to "MSUCOM" and mail to A314 E. Fee Hall, MSU, East Lansing, MI, 48824-1316. All donations to Heart and Sole are administered by the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

- Identify shipping alternatives.

If you, or someone you know, live or work overseas, are planning an international mission trip, or can provide other low-cost methods of delivery, Heart and Sole can provide you with shoes that can be distributed to a region in need.

For more information, visit the Web at www.com.msu.edu