Soles4Souls Canada is a not-for-profit that turns unwanted shoes and clothing into opportunities. We spoke with Maria Proc, Director of Canada Business Development and Operations, to find out more about them.
Describe your charity/non-profit/volunteer work in a few sentences.
I am Maria Proc, the Director of Canada Business Development and Operations for Soles4Souls Canada, one of the Soles4Souls Inc. international divisions. Here at Soles4Souls, we turn unwanted shoes and clothing into opportunities by keeping them from going to waste and putting them to good use – providing relief, creating jobs, and empowering people to break the cycle of poverty. My role is to make sure we grow as a non-profit organization in Canada to help those in need both at home and abroad.
What problem does it aim to solve?
Providing Relief. Whether it is disaster relief or supporting homeless kids, we distribute new shoes and clothing to people in need across Canada and around the world.
Fighting Poverty. We help people launch and sustain their small businesses selling donated shoes and clothing.
The Planet. We’re protecting the environment by putting used goods to good use instead of wasting them away in the landfill.
Empowering Women. We aim to empower women, ensuring they have the opportunity and recognition they deserve.
When did you start/join it?
I joined Soles4Souls Canada back in 2018.
What made you want to get involved?
Soles4Souls never stops supporting new countries and new organizations. One of our core values is Transparency, and we uphold that value to one another, our donors and partners.
What was the situation like when you started?
When I joined Soles4Souls Canada, we were beginning our international growth.
How has it changed since?
Since I started in 2018, we are now present in 3 Canadian provinces: Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia, we have partnered with companies like eBay Canada to bring change, and we have done over $12,000,000 in economic impact, which is only in the last five years.
What more needs to be done?
Unfortunately, there is always a need for support both in Canada and abroad, and we will not stop until all those needs are fulfilled.
How can our readers help?
We always welcome shoe donations, volunteers, partnerships, ambassadors, and fundraising efforts. However, we do have an exciting initiative underway this holiday season to get the community involved and help us support those in need.
We have partnered with eBay Canada to host a sneaker auction – with all proceeds from the auction going to Soles4Souls Canada. As part of the auction, notables from Canada’s sneakerhead community got involved in helping spread the holiday cheer by donating some kicks from their personal collections to the cause, including Katherine Johnsen, David Forteau and Andrew Miller. All donated kicks were sent off to Sole Premium Shoe Care to be cleaned and restored to pristine condition for auction, and the kicks are now available on eBay.ca for purchase.
Do you have any events coming up?
Yes, our new Christmas campaign called “The Joy You Give” focuses on giving confidence and joy to a child in need. The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year for many of us, but imagine what it’s like for a kid who lacks even basic necessities, like a good pair of shoes or winter boots. These children are often bullied and embarrassed and suffer from health problems simply because they do not have a good
pair of shoes. Together, we can give them the joy they deserve. To learn more, please visit https://soles4souls.org/joy/.
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
Samaritan’s Purse Canada