Soles for souls
Friday, April 11, 2014 10:46 AM
"The shoes go to people in need," Mark Dokken said. "Whether there has been a natural disaster, or it's a case of poverty. This program helps people throughout the world."
As a member of the Spring Grove Lions Club, Dokken was talking about "Soles4Souls," a Nashville, Tenn., based charitable organization which has been collecting shoes for the needy since 2006.
"We've never done this before," Dokken added, "but the Spring Grove Lions have decided to participate with this effort with the help of local churches and businesses. We will have drop-off sites where people can leave off any size or type of clean used shoes. Just bind them together and take them to Trinity Lutheran Church, Faith Lutheran Church, Wilmington Lutheran Church, Calvary Evangelical Free Church, Waterloo Ridge Church, Merchants Bank, Spring Grove Communications or Rural City."
"We believe it's a worthy effort, and we'll gladly donate good used shoes to the program," Dokken said. The collection drive will be in effect during the entire month of April.
"To me, this is really great Lionism, helping people. Our trademark has been helping people with vision issues, and blindness. We have funded leader-dog programs, collected eyeglasses. The Lions have also helped with monetary needs as well...."
Soles for souls keeps a "ready inventory" of footwear on hand for disaster relief. The organization has responded to hurricanes, wildfires and floods and tornadoes.
Homeless shelters in the U.S. receive assistance, as do domestic abuse shelters. In Appalachia, shoes are sent to schoolchildren. Inner city hospitals also receive footwear for trauma patients whose personal items have been damaged.
Another focus is donating items to orphanages throughout Central and South America, as well as Africa. In desperately-poor areas of the world, such as Haiti, Soles4Souls sells sorted items from its warehouse to "carefully selected micro-enterprise organizations" in order to loosen the grip of poverty.
"How can one person in Spring Grove, Minnesota, really do something good for the world?" Dokken asked. "Join the Lions."
"We meet the first Monday of the month at Norski's, at 6 p.m. We have a short social time, then have a meal at 6:30. At 7 p.m. we have a short business meeting. We encourage husbands and wives to join. It's open to everybody. We welcome new members all the time."