FSU Athletics Donates Shoes To "Soles4Souls"

Pictured are (left to right): Dr. Jeff Mossel and FSU football players Chad Wilson, Damien Miller and Matt Schuelke (Photo by Bill Bitzinger, FSU Photographic Services)
Pictured are (left to right): Dr. Jeff Mossel and FSU football players Chad Wilson, Damien Miller and Matt Schuelke (Photo by Bill Bitzinger, FSU Photographic Services)

Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University Athletics Department has added yet another important and worthwhile cause to its charitable efforts.

The Bulldogs, in partnership with Dr. Jeff Mossel and the Big Rapids Foot and Ankle Clinic, have donated more than 300 pair of athletics shoes to the "Soles4Souls" organization, an international shoe charity.

Soles4Souls facilitates large donations of new or gently worn shoes from various footwear companies, retailers, churches, nonprofit ministries, civic groups, schools, and individuals across the country.  The shoes are then given to people throughout the world who desperately need footwear.

"In a continued effort to partner with local businesses and organizations, we're proud of this partnership and opportunity to support such a worthy cause," said FSU Associate Athletics Director Jon Coles.  "Dr. Mossel is a true fan of Bulldog Athletics and we thank him for his support of FSU and this important project."

The Soles4Souls effort began in 2004 during the aftermath of the tsunami that hit Southeast Asia where nearly three out of four people were barefoot. Now, Soles4Souls sends over 2 million pairs of shoes per year to more than 125 countries. In the United States, Soles4Souls donates shoes to homeless shelters and battered women’s centers. Overseas, many people have started micro-businesses refurbishing and selling shoes to aid the efforts.

To date, more than 10 millions pairs of shoes have been donated to people in need throughout the world as the organization continues "changing the world, one pair at a time".  A new pair of shoes is donated to the cause nearly every seven seconds.

Many of the shoes donated by FSU Athletics were purchased for and utilized on the Bulldogs' previous artificial-turf football playing surface at Top Taggart Field and are no longer needed with the recent installation of the new Mondo Ecofill field.

The shoes were picked up Thursday (Aug. 5) by Dr. Mossel for shipment to the Soles4Souls organization.

"Thousands of people all over the world have inadequate shoes for work, sport, and daily activities," said Dr. Mossel.  "Inadequate shoes lead to multple foot injuries daily, which often go untreated.  

"Through collaboration in our community, we will change hunderds of lives by providing quality shoes for athletes in need," he added. "FSU continues to find innovative ideas to integrate Bulldog Athletics into the community and we're proud to support these efforts."

In addition to providing footwear to needy individuals, Soles4Souls also aids the environment.  Last year alone, Americans discarded more than 300 million pairs of shoes. When these shoes break down in landfills, the toxic glue that holds the shoes together can leak into the water supply and atmosphere. The organization offers a simple way to help reduce the strain on the environment by encouraging individuals to donate "gently worn" footwear to people in need instead of throwing them away.

Soles4Souls accepts all types of shoes: athletic, running, dress, sandals, pumps, heels, work boots, cleats, dance, flip flops, as long as they are new or gently worn. Additionally, monetary donations are accepted and can be made online via the Soles4Souls website.  Every dollar contributed results in one additional pair of shoes for someone in need.

Soles4Souls saves shoes from an early death by cleaning them and shipping them to needy people around the world, who will treasure the gift for years to come. Since its inception following the Asian tsunami, Soles4Souls has distributed over 10 million pairs to people in 125 countries, and the efforts have been publicized in thousands of articles, including the Green Guide by National Geographic and Runner's World.

In addition to this program, Soles4Souls hosts thousands of collection events across North America, including marathons, schools, churches and more. Many local shoe retailers also offer discounts on new shoes in exchange for older donated pairs.

For more information on Soles4Souls, please visit this link: