MOREHEAD CITY — One community teen has turned frustration over a closet cluttered with shoes into a mission to help others.
“One day I realized I had this whole rack of used shoes and felt bad about throwing them away,” Caroline Lewis, 17, of Morehead City, said. “I started to research and found Soles4Souls. They have places where you can send used shoes to help people who need them. They send gently used shoes to 125 different countries and throughout the U.S. to help people in need of shoes.”
Soles4Souls is a nonprofit headquartered in Nashville, Tenn.
Caroline was so enthused about the project she started a collection drive for new and gently used shoes. She’s placed large boxes at Sports Center, Anytime Fitness, TruFit Gym and Crystal Coast CrossFit, all in Morehead City. People are invited to drop off shoes through Saturday, July 31.
“After that I’m going to box them up and send them to the closest collection center,” Caroline said July 7.
The rising West Carteret High School senior said all types of shoes are welcome, from high heels to tennis shoes, flip flops and even dance shoes.
“They do recommend washing them first, if possible,” she said.
Caroline added that she’s researched why it’s important for people to wear shoes in some of the places where they are sent.
“In some of the countries, people get parasites in their feet from going barefoot, kids can’t go to school without shoes and people can’t go to work,” she said. “That’s why we need to send shoes.”
Alana Counts, marketing director at Sports Center, said the business was more than happy to allow Caroline to place a box in the establishment.
“Why wouldn’t we want to support youth doing something good? Her family have been members here for years,” Ms. Counts said. “We’re helping people in need and helping our youth. That’s what we do.”
The teen said she was grateful to the businesses and her family for supporting her effort.
“I’m really fortunate because I’ve always had a roof over my head, food and amazing parents,” she said. “I just felt like I needed to do something to help others.”
Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.