What started out as a simple search on Google has proven successful in securing hundreds of pairs of shoes for people around the world.
Laurie Worachek knew she wanted to do something charitable. She knew she wanted to do it, if possible, with shoes. When she searched the Internet for "shoe drive" one of the first links that popped up was for a website called Soles4Souls.
The non-profit organization has a mission: "Changing the world, one pair at a time." So far, Worachek is doing more than her part. She has collected 415 pairs to be donated to people in underdeveloped and disaster-struck countries such as Haiti, Japan and India.
"What did it for me about this organization is that these shoes will find their way to people who have never owned a pair before," she said. "This was my first time doing a drive of any kind so I guess I didn't really know what to expect. But now that I have done it, I realize it was easier than I thought. People are very generous if you ask."
The success she has seen so far has motivated her to continue her collection. Worachek has received help from the Chandler Endoscopy Center, the Family of Christ Learning Center in Ahwatukee Foothills and the company where she works, TSYS Acquiring Solutions.
She is looking to expand to other locations and possibly host a local event to bring awareness, and additional pairs, to the organization.
"Now I have seen how easy it is to organize," Worachek said. "I really have done it all myself, including boxing up all 415 pairs."
Soles4Souls accepts any type and size of shoe, including new or used, lightly worn or damaged. They will even take a single shoe.
"The whole idea is to go clean out your closet and donate," said Worachek, whose family of four donated 30 pairs of their own. "It might go to someone who had never owned a pair of shoes before."
The website is user-friendly for those who want to start up their own shoe drive. There are documents that can be downloaded and customized to bring a buzz to local shoe drives.
Worachek will have a collection box outside of Starbucks, 885 N. 54th St., just on the other side of Interstate 10, south of Ray Road. She plans to have the box up during normal business hours from July 5 to 12.
To find out more about the organization, visit www.Soles4Souls.org.