Soles4Souls sets big goal for 2012 campaign in BC

The Kelowna man who started the Canadian campaign for Soles4Souls has set an ambitious goal for their third annual event:: 100,000 shoes collected in BC.

“There are 300 million kids in the world without any shoes,” says Jim Belshaw, who makes a living selling and fixing shoes at his Okanagan shop, Roy’s Shoes.

“It’s incredible to see the joy on someone’s face when they realize. It’s almost like they can look forward instead of down where they are stepping because they actually have a good pair of shoes.”

At first, Belshaw’s efforts collected 45,000 pairs in British Columbia. The second year, BC residents donated 65,000. In the charity’s six years operating internationally, 17 million shoes have been collected in 130 countries.

“We all have 3, 4, 5, 6 pairs of shoes in our closet we don’t wear anymore,” says Belshaw. “It’s very effective.”

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Shoe donations can be dropped off at Roy’s Shoes, Prospera Credit Union, Capri Insurance, Starbucks and McDonald’s Restaurants in the Okanagan.

Wayne Elsey, Soles’ chief executive and board chairman, stepped down from his position at the US based charity last week.