Thursday, April 1, 2010

Where it all began...

The orginial invite on our Facebook event page:
As you may or may not know, my dear friend Samantha is stationed in Lesotho (Southern Africa for those of you who have never heard of it. Don't feel bad - neither had I) for a 2.5 year stint with the Peace Corps. Recently in her blog she wrote about a track team at her school. Sam was a HUGE runner in high school and at Clemson and the only person to this day who has ever succeeded in convincing me to run anywhere (which is a feat in and of itself). Track season in Lesotho is almost over but she's talking of coaching next year. The problem? Her students desperately need shoes. Sam writes, "The debatably 400 meter track had two mild inclines and was dirt smeared with shards of glass. My students ran barefoot!" After reading this, I knew I wanted to help.

Hannah did a little reserach and found out that, "not only will shoes protect our avid runners' feet, they protect the students' health as well!! A leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted diseases, which can penetrate the skin through bare feet. Wearing shoes can help prevent these diseases, and the long-term physical and cognitive harm they cause. Wearing shoes also prevents feet from getting cuts and sores. Not only are these injuries painful, they also are dangerous when wounds become infected."

So, I'm writing to ask if you have any old running or athletic shoes, if you'd be willing to donate them to Sam's students in Lesotho. Any size will do. I sent out an e-mail last week and got an overwhelmingly positive response, including some from a couple key people who are stepping up to help in organization. Because of them, we have five "collectors" for your convenience. Contact the following people and they will work on making the easiest exchange possible:

If you live in Columbia or Myrtle Beach, SC contact Stephanie Warren at

If you live in Clemson, SC contact Hannah Oakley at

If you live in Charleston, SC contact Claire Sparks at

If you live in East Lansing, MI contact Amy Bickett at

If you live in Denver, CO or don't live in SC at all, contact me, Rachel Sparks at

The projected ship date will be May 1, so if you could get your shoes to one of us by then, that would be wonderful. If you want to help but don't have any old shoes, we will gladly accept any monetary donation you are willing to give to cover shipping costs. It will probably be easiest to mail all money to me so that I can get it to our collectors evenly. Also, invite all your friends to this event. You never know when a stranger might want to help out, but they can't help if they don't even know about it!

Thanks so much, Rachel


  1. Rachel, I love this project! It's a great idea, and it's wonderful that you're putting it into effect. :)

    I live no where near any of the locations there anything I can do to help from Kentucky??

    Let me know! ;)

  2. PS -- If you'd like a bit of publicity, I'd be happy to feature Shoes for Samantha on MaDM next week. I'm not exactly internet famous, but I have a lot of followers with big hearts. :)