Amelia Flores’ local shoe drive for Soles 4 Souls has caught the attention of some of the biggest celebrities around: Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West.
The 17-year-old from Wichita, Kansas, woke up Thursday morning to an outpouring of support for her shoe drive from the media personalities. Overnight, Kardashian saw Flores’ story on the late-night show Dish Nation, about the teen’s goal to collect 2,000 pairs of shoes by Christmas for Soles 4 Souls. Kardashian tweeted her support for the teen, saying she and her husband, Kanye West, would donate to the fundraiser to help Flores reach her goal.
“I think I know the designer of Shoe of the Year award! Kanye and I would love to donate those 1000 shoes to Soles For Souls!” wrote Kim on Twitter, referencing her husband Kanye West’s recent win at the Footwear News Achievement Awards for Shoe of the Year for his Adidas Yeezy Boost.
Flores told Footwear News that the nonprofit helped her extended family during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, so this was a way to give back. She said her father’s side of the family lived near one of the levies that broke — and lost everything.
“We went to visit, and I remember the house looking like it had been set on fire, it was so bad,” Flores said. “I remember people needing shoes. My family got some from Soles 4 Souls, and it’s something I haven’t forgotten. Now that I’m capable, I wanted to give back.”
The teen’s story has been picked up across social media today. She said if she raises 25,000 pairs now, she’ll be able to go on a giving trip abroad.
The Nashville-based nonprofit has donated 22 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries since 2006. The organization also aims to help raise those in developing nations out of poverty by donating gently used footwear to be used to help create small businesses.
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) December 10, 2015
I really hope Kim k is talking abt me
— Amelia Flores (@thejokeisyou) December 10, 2015
Soles 4 Souls is buzzing about the major donation. “It’s a bit like Christmas morning over here,” said Brian Granfors, the nonprofit’s creative director.
“It might sound like a cliche but you never know what the ripple effect is of your work. From helping Amelia and her family more than five years ago to her giving back now, that’s what Soles 4 Souls is all about,” said Soles 4 Souls CEO Buddy Teaster. “The power of celebrity, and Kim Kardashian is at the peak, is helping the world to know her story which is invaluable. Because this is the kind of impact we have every day. Whether through the grassroots efforts of people like Amelia or hundreds of footwear industry partners who donate shoes and money every year, Soles 4 Souls is here to help in times of need.”
Meanwhile, Flores has her eye on that giving trip. “I have a job where I work with kids, and we sponsor an orphanage in Africa. I see that need, and I see what the kids go through, so it’s one reason why I really want to go,” she said.
Where does she get her giving spirit? Flores says it runs in the family and that she got it from her mother, who showed her early on how important it is to give back.
“I’m so overwhelmed. I’m just a high school kid in Kansas,” she said, but she’s definitely making a big difference.