NEW HAVEN, CT -- One person’s unwanted shoes can help provide meaningful opportunities that many in developing nations need. Tile America launched a shoe drive to collect 1,000 pairs of new or gently worn shoes for Soles4Souls, a non-profit social enterprise that creates sustainable jobs and provides relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world.

The 1,007 pairs of donated shoes will be distributed to Soles4Souls’ micro-enterprise programs that create jobs in Haiti, Honduras and other developing nations. The micro-enterprise model provides individuals the ability to start small businesses by providing a steady supply of high-quality, low-cost product. They also give a second life to unwanted shoes, keeping them out of landfills and protecting the environment. 

“We were overwhelmed with the response we received,” said Brian Knies, owner and president of Tile America. “Shoes started pouring in as employees cleaned out their closets and solicited donations from friends and family members. We were very excited to reach our goal of over 1,000 pairs and are thrilled to support this wonderful charity.”

The World Bank estimates that approximately 767 million people live on less than $1.90 per day. Many people living in extreme poverty simply do not have access to stable employment. The income generated by selling just one pair of shoes in Haiti can provide up to five meals for a family in need, whereas 30 pairs sold by an entrepreneur in Honduras can provide up to a year of schooling for a child.