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Soles4Souls wants LI shoes

The Farmingdale State College Student Nurses Association has joined in the effort to collect shoes for a charity called Soles4Souls.

The Nashville-based nonprofit has distributed 13 million shoes worldwide to countries including Haiti, Kenya, Nepal and the United States. This year’s goal is to collect and distribute 11 million pairs. It’s the “11 in 11” campaign.

“We need partners like Farmingdale State College Student Nurses Association to get behind our ‘11 in 11’ campaign and get a little crazy this year,” Soles4Souls founder Wayne Elsey said in a news release. “Donating shoes is one of the most simple yet profound gifts you can make, because it will greatly improve someone’s life in the most difficult of times.”

Elsey said he watched the news coverage of the devastation left by the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia. The man who’d been in the footwear industry for years realized that he could do something to help the people who'd lost everything -- including their shoes.

So Elsey made a few calls, and before long 250,000 pairs of shoes had been gathered to be sent to victims of the tsunami.

It was the same scenario after Hurricane Katrina. And it was after that disaster when Elsey decided to create Soles4Souls and make it his full-time career -- collecting shoes for those in need.

Elizabeth Kirk, communications director for Soles4Souls, said there are 3,000 to 4,000 shoe drives going on across the country at any given time.

“We have great partners like the Farmingdale State College Student Nurses Association,” Kirk said. “Groups hear about what we’re doing and are interested in helping us reach our goal.”

Shoe donations can be made at the following locations on Long Island:

* Comfort Your Soul, 546 Commack Rd., Deer Park
* Gail’s Stride Rite, 345 Main St., Huntington
* Gail’s Stride Rite, 6243 Northern Blvd., East Norwich
* Lynbrook Runner’s Stop, 20 Atlantic Ave., Lynbrook
* Next Gen, 26 Seventh St., Garden City Park
* Gail’s Stride Rite, 9 Main St., Port Washington
* The Foot Comfort Center, 254-61 Horace Harding Expwy., Little Neck 

For more information, visit www.giveshoes.org.

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