Last week was National Volunteer Week. I had the pleasure of volunteering with a few ladies from the Women in the World – Chicago travel meetup (formerly Go Girls – Chicago). We spent the day sorting shoes for an amazing organization called Share Your Soles, which sends donated shoes to poor communities all across the world.
Founder, Mona Purdy, started the charity after seeing impoverished children in Guatemala paint hot tar onto the bottoms of their feet because they didn’t have shoes. She began her organization in 1999 and, over the years, has shipped tens of thousands of pairs of shoes to people in Central America, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, Africa, the U.S., and Eastern Europe. Mona relies solely (no pun intended) on the efforts of volunteers to clean, repair, and pack shoes and boots for men, women, and children. I, for one, was happy to do my small part.
Standing in the Share Your Soles warehouse amongst thousands of pairs of shoes, it really brought home how many people around the world go without something that I have always taken for granted. Sure, I’d seen photos and videos of people walking barefoot, but I had no idea that so many adults and children actually have to have their feet amputated due the severity of the injuries and infections that they sustain.
Spending the day at Share Your Soles, was not only an opportunity to take a few hours to give back, but it was a much needed reminder of what one woman can do when she puts her mind to it. Thanks Mona Purdy for being simply amazing!