Donate your soles for those in need
December 31, 2015
Southern Torch (3465 articles)

Donate your soles for those in need

By Karah Wilson

FORT PAYNE, Ala.—Residents in DeKalb County now have an opportunity to help out families that are in poverty around the world. Auburn University sophomore Tyler Fraebel has teamed up with Fort Payne Footworks to collect shoes for a project called Soles4Souls.

Soles4Souls was started by Buddy Teaster in 2006. Soles4Souls sets out distribution areas where local businesses can donate shoes. Once they are at the distribution area, they are melted down and molded into an all-terrain, all-purpose shoe that will last longer than a typical flip-flop of anything of the sort.

Fraebel, a Fort Payne native, traveled to Honduras on a medical mission trip in high school. “After seeing how brutal the conditions were and noticing that there were hundreds of people treading across that kind of terrain without shoes, I was astounded and heartbroken,” Fraebel said. Fraebel is a part of Auburn’s Freshman Leadership program. He is a part of the subgroup, ELITE. ELITE consists of 45 freshmen and four directors. Fraebel is one of the four directors in this group. “I was in a different Freshman Leadership program last year, but I heard about this one and all of the success that it had and I knew instantly that I wanted to have a hand in that,” Fraebel said. Last year the group raised 14,446 shoes.

“Footworks is our first and only sponsor,” said Fraebel. “The owner, Jack Davidson, is giving anyone who brings in an old pair of shoes 20% off a purchase of new shoes. If you have more just sitting around, though, bring them all in.” Several business and restaurants are allowing the group to have benefit nights and will donate up to 50% of the proceeds. “We have an online drive to collect monetary donations and $1 provides a child with a pair of shoes.”

This is Fraebel’s first year involved with Soles4Souls, but it is ELITE’s fourth year. “My favorite part of the whole thing is seeing photos of the lives changed by the selfless decision of someone deciding to give away a ratty, old pair of shoes. The shoes we don’t even wear are the prize of some children’s lives. These shoes are more than just a fashion accessory or comfort thing to them. The shoes allow them to go to school and receive an education they wouldn’t have if they didn’t have shoes,” Fraebel said. “The shoes prevent them from catching diseases and infection that are easily prevented by having soles on your feet. The pure elation and joy in their eyes in something I will never be able to forget and that is what makes Soles4Souls such an amazing program to be partnered with.”

Drop off your donations to Fort Payne Footworks. Any shoe is accepted from athletic to pumps to flip-flops to cleats, and half pairs are accepted. If the shoes cannot be used, they will be recycled. For more questions, email Fraebel at or go to

Southern Torch

Southern Torch


No Comments Yet! You can be first to comment this post!

Write comment

Your data will be safe! Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person. Required fields marked as *