Local church, business unite in ‘Soles4Souls’

Written by Observer staff reports March 10, 2010 03:20 pm

shoes for Haiti: Kelly McGee, owner of Marie Josephine, A Mercantile, left, and Carole Halvorson of Zion Lutheran Church’s Women’s Group are teammates in an effort to collect shoes for Haiti earthquake victims. The shoes are being collected at McGee’s store, 1304 Adams Ave. Submitted photo
shoes for Haiti: Kelly McGee, owner of Marie Josephine, A Mercantile, left, and Carole Halvorson of Zion Lutheran Church’s Women’s Group are teammates in an effort to collect shoes for Haiti earthquake victims. The shoes are being collected at McGee’s store, 1304 Adams Ave. Submitted photo
Zion Lutheran Church on Fourth Street and Marie Josephine, A Mercantile Company, on Adams Avenue are making their third shipment of “Soles4Souls” shoe shipment bound to Haiti. 

For the past few months, Kelly McGee, Marie Josephine’s proprietor, has offered her store as the drop off point for new and used shoes supporting the international “Soles4Souls” program. 

Working with Zion Lutheran Church Women’s group and with member Carole Halvorson, both helping to cover the cost of shipments, McGee has collected more than 400 pounds of shoes in total. 

It is estimated that more than 1.5 billion pairs of shoes lay idle in American closets.  Over 300 million children around the world are without shoes. And, “Soles4Souls” gives away a pair every 19 seconds. 

“I got involved with this international program through one of my shoe supplier/manufacturers, who donate with other shoe manufacturers, a free new pair for every pair donated by the public,” McGee said.

She said that although the shoes reach needy people in some 70 countries, Haiti has been targeted because of its extreme need following the earthquake.

McGee and her husband, Jon, and daughter Frances, operate a lifestyle mercantile that also supports Fair Trade knits, clothing, objects of art, handcrafted items , jewelry and the like distributed by fair-trade organization SERRV International. 

McGee and Halvorson, in concert with Zion Lutheran Church Women, have a long history of supporting human rights programs around the world and work closely with Lutheran World Relief, Thrivent and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America organizations.