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Souls for Souls|Wilkinson’s collecting shoe donations for Haiti

By By Lydia Grimes
features reporter

Wilkinson’s of Norwich Coffee and Tea has announced that it will join Soles4Souls Inc. to collect “gently worn’ shoes to be sent to Haiti.
Patsy Lato, manager of the Wilkinson’s Brewton location, has requested that the shoes collected through this drive be donated to victims of the devastating Haitian earthquake. 
Brewton and surrounding area residents are invited to recycle their “gently worn” shoes for people in need, Lato said. There will be drop boxes around Brewton and East Brewton. Lato said it wouldn’t be necessary to come to the factory. In addition to local schools, there will be drop boxes at the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA, Habitat’s Restore and other locations.
It is estimated that Americans have 1.5 billion pairs of unused shoes lying in their closets, Soles4Souls representatives said. The Soles4Souls Inc. charity can use each one of these pairs to make a tangible difference in someone’s life. The shoe charity has earned endorsements from Hollywood stars and professional athletes, but the people that truly make the non-profit organization effective are those who clean out their closets to personally drop off their gently worn shoes at a participating location, such as Wilkinson’s of Norwich.
Wilkinson’s of Norwich is sponsoring the local shoe drive  and will accept drop-off donations at their factory at 283 Edendale Road (on  Jay Road, 2.5 miles south of Highway 41) between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday. The drive will  run through Feb. 28.
Soles4Souls is a Nashville-based charity that collects shoes from the warehouses of footwear companies and the closets of people like you. The charity distributes these shoes free of charge to people in need, regardless of race, religion, class, or any other criteria. Since 2005, Soles4Souls has given away over 5.5 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes (currently donating one pair every 9 seconds.) The shoes have been distributed to people in over 125 countries, including Kenya, Thailand, Nepal and the United States. 
Anyone can join the cause. Visit www.giveshoes.org for more information. It is recognized by the IRS and are eligible for tax advantages.