Specialty Fabrics Review May 2019 - 37

RECYCLING WITH SOUL
The benefits of recycling are obvious-
some of them, anyway, but perhaps not all.
For example, it's clearly a good thing
that 35 million pairs of shoes and 12
million pieces of apparel have been recycled
since 2006 by Soles4Souls, a nonprofit
organization based in Nashville, Tenn.
Soles4Souls collects new and gently
used shoes and apparel and then ships
them to the 127 countries that have been
recipients of their services. However,
its larger goal is to provide the goods to
individuals in those countries who want to
start small businesses selling the products
that come from Soles4Souls.
"We do immediate relief around the
world through the distribution of shoes
and clothing," says Tiffany Turner, director
of outreach. "But we also want to help
alleviate poverty through empowerment
and opportunity. By creating jobs and
empowering entrepreneurs, we want to
create a long-term solution to poverty."
The income the small business owners
earn gives them the ability to purchase
necessities like food, shelter and education
for their families, says Turner. "It's
amazing to see their success," she adds,
"especially when the business owner is
female, because their opportunities are
slim to none in many of these countries."
Soles4Souls gets its products through
shoe drops in retail locations; through
drives sponsored by businesses,
corporations, students, civic groups and
churches; and through overstock, defective
products and returns from companies such
as adidas and Patagonia.

ABOVE: Soles4Souls, a
Nashville, Tenn., nonprofit,
has sent new and gently-used
shoes to 127 countries.
MIDDLE: Soles4Souls provides
recycled goods to individuals
in countries who want to start
small businesses selling
the products.
BOTTOM: Thirty-five million
shoes have been recycled
by Soles4Souls since 2006.
Photos: Soles4Souls.

Jeff Moravec is a freelance writer
from Minneapolis, Minn.

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Specialty Fabrics Review May 2019

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