I think that all of us would like to lend a helping hand to someone in need on occasion, but there are some people who take things to the next level. That was the case with Lindsay Sobel, who got an interesting start when she was only 13. It was during her Bat Mitzvah that she began to put the plan into action and it has grown since then.
Her plan was to collect used shoes and to donate them to the homeless. The Los Angeles Daily News reports that she had a small collection at first that consisted of about 40 pairs of shoes from her family. From there, she continued to grow Shoes For Souls until it is what it is today.
Lindsay had a burning desire to give something to the community. She saw the many problems that the homeless found themselves in, so she started the charity to donate lightly used shoes to the homeless. The first portion of her collection was a no-brainer because there were shoes laying around her home that were in good condition, even though nobody wanted to wear them any longer.
When Lindsay was at the Staples Center arena in Los Angeles for a basketball game, she saw the many homeless people who were living in the area. In an interview with A Might Girl, she said: “I noticed a lot of them were in really awful living conditions, no way any person should have to live. On top of that, I noticed a lot of them did not even have shoes on.” It really struck a chord with her and put things into perspective.
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Now that Lindsay has been at it for four years, the 17-year-old has collected almost 30,000 pairs of shoes in the Los Angeles area. She does more than collect them, however, she drives from home to home with her family to pick up the shoes and then donates them to shelters, nonprofit organizations, and city parks that have homeless shelters. Her charity has not gone unnoticed, and she was even named the 2017 Chatsworth Youth of the Year.
When she enlisted the help of the CITY Volleyball Club last year, some 2000 shoes were picked up in a single day from 50 different homes in the city. A few months later, her father, mother, and grandfather led three caravans that collected 1100 additional shoes donated by people living in Chatsworth and Porter Ranch.
It’s interesting that she does have limits on what she will accept. She tries to stick to the motto that if she would wear it, she will accept it.
As she shared with A Might Girl: “I want to try to give the best experience to all the people. I don’t want to give them a pair of shoes that are … worn down. I don’t want them to think that’s their self-worth. If I would wear them, I keep them. If I wouldn’t, they aren’t acceptable enough to give.”
Unfortunately, the coronavirus did have an impact on her work. There are more homeless people and she wants to help as many as possible. During that time she has had fewer resources, so she turned to social media and the Nextdoor app for help.
Her father, David, is proud of his daughter and what she has been able to accomplish. He summed things up nicely when he said to the website, “We aren’t asking for money; we aren’t asking for something people don’t have. Every person, in their garage or in their closet, has five pairs of shoes they don’t use anymore. It’s something easy.”Whizzco