Soles4Souls will send at least 200,000 pairs of shoes to areas of the Phillipines affected by Typhoon Haiyun, and the group has longer-term plans to help the nation.
Officials have estimated that more than 10,000 people have been killed and more than 10 million have been affected by the storm that hit the islands on Friday, Nov. 8.
“We’ve committed 200,000 pairs of shoes, probably a little more, and those will be shipping out the first week of December,” said CEO Buddy Teaster. “We’re not first responders, so we’re letting the experts with the equipment and the supplies [take the lead].”
Teaster said the organization has already received commitments for both financial and product contributions from the industry, but will be collecting more even into the new year.
In the long term, he said, Soles4Souls is going to ramp up its microenterprise program in the region.
“We have already identified the Philippines for a micro enterprise program,” he said. The programs connect with people in developing areas to create businesses selling new and used shoes to develop income. “We are going to accelerate that,” Teaster said. The program should be in place by June of 2014, he said.