For many, slipping on a pair of shoes is just another task that comes along with the start of a new day. But for others, it’s not so simple. Soles4Souls is looking to change that.
The Nashville-based, not-for-profit institution, whose mission is to fight the “devastating impact and perpetuation of poverty,” got a little help in attaining their goal from members of the Nashville Predators on Tuesday at Cole Elementary School in Antioch, Tennessee.
After volunteers from the Preds front office organized thousands of pairs of shoes at Ford Ice Center, it was off to Cole Elementary, one of many Metro Nashville Public Schools receiving the gifts, courtesy of Soles4Souls. In all, over 10,000 pairs will be delivered to the schools over the coming days.
“Poverty here doesn’t looks like poverty in Haiti or Honduras or the Philippines, but there are still people here who only have one pair of shoes,” Soles4Souls President and CEO Buddy Teaster said. “If we’re able to help that family get through the summer with the shoes we’re distributing…that can be a big deal for a family.”
This isn’t the first time the team has been involved with Soles4Souls. The Preds collected shoes at a game this past season and members of the organization are set to make a trip to Haiti in July with Soles4Souls to deliver shoes to those in need.
“Having the Predators involved is really important,” Teaster said. “As Nashville more and more identifies with the Predators, obviously it’s good for us to be seen and be a part of that, but also, it’s clear that their connection to community is really genuine. We’re happy to allow the Predators to find another way to do that and to help people become more aware of Soles4Souls and what we’re trying to do in the community. The [Nashville Predators] Foundation is just a great vehicle to do that.”
This also wasn’t the first time the Preds have been to Cole Elementary. Back in October, hundreds of volunteers, including members of the Preds organization, turned out to help build a new playground and soccer fields at Cole in just one day.
“Anything that comes up, all I’ve got to do is say, ‘We’d like to have some Predators representatives over here,’ and they come,” Cole Elementary Principal Darwin Mason said. “They’ve always been eager to be in our building, eager to be a part of what we do and they’re just a viable part of what we do here. They’re our partners and we look at them like our friends here.”
For Mason and his students, the gifts from Soles4Souls and the assistance from the Predators provide so much more than a tangible item. It’s lessons like these that will be passed along and reciprocated in due time.
“[This event] just adds to letting [the students] know we’re a viable entity in this community, we’re a viable entity in the city of Nashville, and one of these days, we’re going to give back,” Mason said. “Somebody gave to us and we’re teaching them all the time, one of these days, it’s going to be your turn to give back.”
For more information on Soles4Souls or to make a donation, click here.