Non-profit organization Soles4Souls was born from the sofa of founder Wayne Elsey while he watched the devastation of the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia. The image of "a single shoe, stranded on a decimated beach," sparked the seed of the idea.
"I felt like donating everything I had, but I knew it wouldn't be enough," said Elsey. He made contact with other footwear executives and soon had raised 250,000 pairs of new shoes to be donated to areas affected by the disaster.
When Hurricane Katrina struck a year later, he led similar efforts and was encouraged to see donations of over a million pairs of shoes.
Since then, the Old Hickory-based Soles4Souls has become one of the fastest-growing nonprofits in the country.
The shoes the students raised may be distributed to one of 127 countries, including Kenya, Thailand, Nepal and the United States.
"We were very proud of our students," said sponsor Megan Parsons.
For more information, or to donate, visit www.soles4souls.com