Our Story

“What if you could change the world for someone?
Would you? You can. And when you do,
the world changes for you too.”
 -Mona Purdy
Over 3 million pairs of shoes delivered in 19 years
In 1999, Mona Purdy traveled to a remote village in Guatemala and participated in a local running race. While running through this impoverished community, she noticed little children with a black substance on their feet in place of shoes. She later came to find out it was hot tar. These children were putting hot tar on the soles of their feet because they had no shoes protecting them. On her way home, she met an American Orthopedic Surgeon who was visiting this particular village. He explained to her that with shoes, he would be less needed to regularly travel here. He was performing amputations of children’s infected limbs due to lack of protection on their feet. It was really very simple.
When Mona returned home, she actively began seeking out local family, friends, running stores, neighbors, church’s, and schools to begin collecting gently worn shoes. She was feeling great, one good deed down. She returned back to an Orphanage in Guatemala and donated the collected shoes to the children, when a Nun asked her “when will you be returning.”
 The question changed Mona’s life.
After returning home once again, there were bags upon bags of shoes that missed her mission trip. The shoes began piling in continuously, the drop locations were calling that she needed to come back and pick up more, they ran out of room for them. More and more schools became involved, more church groups, scout troops, civic organizations. Newspapers began catching word. Then radio, then finally news stations. Word traveled quickly, the shoes poured in, and Mona’s beautiful Palos Park home became flooded with shoes covering her entire home, garage, and driveway. Thousands upon thousands of shoes came in from throughout the country, and it became very clear that this movement was growing faster than Mona could have ever have imagined, or handled. Share Your Soles was born. We needed help.
Share Your Soles mission became clear: we are going to collect gently worn/ new shoes and distribute them to those in the greatest of need around the world. We need the aid of shippers and airlines. Government agencies, Embassies, small businesses, Government Officials, Consulates. And our mission continues.
Share Your Soles continues to reach out to some of the most impoverished countries through the world.
TO Date

We have traveled to:

  •  Over 40 locations
  • 13 US States
  • 5 Continents
  • Countless of Countries
Share Your Soles has brought over three million pairs of shoes to desperately impoverished families throughout the world; Central America, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, Africa, Eastern Europe, and the United States. Our program has helped those living on Native American Reservations and in the Appalachia’s, as well as India, Ecuador, Peru, Haiti, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Cameroon, Nicaragua, Kenya, and Sierra Leone. We have become also become very active in disaster relief. Share Your Soles was a part of Hurricane Katrina, Irma, Maria, Haiti, Louisiana, and Baton Rouge.   No Boundaries. No borders.
Our Mission
To provide gently worn / new shoes to those in the greatest of need around the world.
Our Vision
To educate, to provide, to inspire, to change the world.
So, what does Share Your Soles Do?
Share Your Soles would not be where we are today if it weren’t for you! We collect our gently worn or new shoes from the community, schools, groups, troops, friends, family, etc. The shoes are brought to our processing center, or dropped at our drop site locations, where they are sanitized, sorted, polished, boxed, and labeled. We have traveled to over 40 locations through our own contacts, shippers, or through other worthy aid organizations. We continuously collect shoes year round, and have shipments out every few weeks to locations in need.
One of the main components to our success is involving the youth in America. They collect shoes, fundraise, volunteer, and do hands on work, all while learning about their world and their place in it. When a child is introduced to Philanthropy at a young age, the chances of them growing up to be a kind, sharing adult is greater.
Why shoes?
Did you know that about 50% of the world lives on less than $2.50 per day? That’s about 3 billion people- and 1 billion of them are children. Shoes are a means of transportation for many around the world.  No car pools, buses, or public transportation; and where there may be some, many can’t afford it. Many of the countries we travel to have no roads. Shoes protect the feet from disease, infection, or injury. Quality footwear serves as health insurance. Jiggers, worms, and parasites are more likely to enter the body through small cuts on the feet, which may cause serious illness and in some cases, death.
Shoes for the family can lighten their financial load tremendously, it enables adults to pursue a job. Some children are denied an education if the parents are not financially able to provide the full uniform, which includes black leather shoes. For many children, it allows them access to water or other resources.
Share Your Soles is not a political organization. We have no religious affiliation. We do not claim to know the causes of poverty throughout the world. We only know it exists, and we do what we can to help.