December 16

Happy Feet

Providing shoes for those in need

How many shoes do you own? Imagine not having a good pair that simply protects your feet and lets you walk around in comfort. Redeeming Soles is a local nonprofit that provides shoes directly to those in need and to organizations that serve those in need.

According to executive director Jessica Reasy, Redeeming Soles was founded in 2011 by Scott Sowle, who had dealt with addiction and homelessness for almost 13 years.

“When he found himself at Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission ready for a second chance, he began to notice what a huge need there was for proper footwear. So he decided to head downtown and start asking people to donate their shoes. He stood in front of the Columbia Tower and within three days the sidewalk was overflowing with donations,” she says. Today, Redeeming Soles is keeping feet happy at an astounding rate, with more than 170,000 shoes collected since 2011. The organization provides shoes every month to nonprofits like Union Gospel Mission, Urban Rest Stop, Jubilee Center for Women, Treehouse for Kids, Mary’s Place, and more.

Donated shoes are stored, cleaned, boxed, and sorted by gender in the organization’s distribution center at 1244 Harrison Street. Redeeming Soles isn’t picky about the type of shoe it receives (sneakers, pumps, sandals, sports cleats, and more are accepted), just as long as they are clean and either new or very gently worn.

The holidays and winter months are an especially important time for Redeeming Soles. You can donate shoes at the distribution center or at KeyBank in Belltown, Super Jock‘n Jill in Green Lake, and several other Puget Sound locations. It costs Redeeming Soles about $1 to distribute each pair of shoes it collects, so monetary donations certainly help the cause. Do your part and check your closets.

This story appears in the 2015-2016 Winter/Spring issue of Discover South Lake Union magazine.

Story By Ethan Chung, Photo by Cody Nielson

At The Center

SLU is the geographical center of Seattle