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Two Matlacha businesses provide ‘soles for souls’

By Staff | Feb 8, 2010

Combining their efforts, two businesses located in Matlacha are helping to provide relief for those recovering from the Haiti earthquake.
“The people of Haiti have suffered a great deal and when I learned of the Soles4Souls program with an article in Footware magazine, I knew I had to help,” said Lou Demick, owner of Footprints in the Sand Shoe Gallery. “I then discovered that there was a collection site for the organization in Cape Coral so I got busy collecting and packing up shoes to donate.”
According to Demick, all of the shoes he has donated are suitable for wear in Haiti and are simple, but durable, shoes.
Joining Demick in his efforts is Bert’s Pine Bay Gallery also located in Matlacha.
“When Lou called me and asked if we would like to help out, I said of course we will,” said Deb Cole, manager of Pine Bay. “We sell Crocs at the shop so of course that is what we have contributed.”
Together, Demick and Cole have packed up and donated a total of 90 shoes. According to Demick, the collection site in Cape Coral has already sent more than 3,000 pairs of shoes to the distribution center in Alabama.
Founded in 2005, Soles4Souls, a non-profit organization was established with one purpose, “we get shoes and give them away.” Soles4Souls receives donations of shoes from various sources including footware companies, retailers, churches, non-profit ministries, civic groups and schools as well as from individual donors to get shoes to people who desperately need footware.
The concept behind Soles4Souls came to into being during the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami that hit Southeast Asia. Soles4Souls gathered and distributed a quarter of a million pairs of shoes to the victims in the devastated countries affected by the storm. During that same year, when Katrina hit in the United States, Soles4Souls sprang into action once again to get footware to those who had lost everything to the hurricane. It was then that organizers decided that the need for the non-profit would be a full-time operation.