People often express themselves through the shoes on their feet. A nice pair of shoes allows people to feel confident and at times, contributes towards the identification of their economic and social status.
According to samaritanfeet.org, nearly 300 million people spend their daily lives without shoes, and 400,000 of those individuals are sickened by illnesses such as tapeworms and podoconiosis because they do not have proper footwear.
“Shoes are crucial in our society. No one wants to walk barefoot and if you cannot have simple items like shoes, then what do you have?” UA graduate Micklos Blake said.
Blake is the founder and CEO of the non-profit organization called FreshSouls. FreshSouls’ mission is to collect lightly worn and new shoes and distribute them to children who cannot afford them in Ohio, and eventually throughout the world.
The first mission project will take place in July 2013. FreshSouls is planning to collect 1,000 pairs of shoes and distribute them to middle school children in St.Thomas, Jamaica. The children will also receive school supplies
like crayons, notebooks and pencils.
“God spoke to me and I realized that I was sick and tired of living the American lifestyle, where we as a nation spend billions of dollars on shoes,” Blake said.
Blake was born and raised in St.Thomas, where he said he struggled as a young child walking barefoot around his hometown. He experienced bruises on his feet from rusty nails and glass splinters. He came to The United States when he was eight years old, and was able to live the American dream. Blake played football for The University of Akron for three years and is now obtaining a master’s degree in Sports Management/Administration.
“Playing football for UA has given me the ability to work hard and learn to lead,” Blake said. “Football is the dream I had for myself, but the real dream is God’s dream, and that is to give back and make a difference in people’s lives.”
FreshSouls is one of many organizations attacking this epidemic; however, it hopes to not only provide footwear for the children, but spiritual guidance. They hope to inspire children in taking a spiritual path, help them make positive decisions in life, and eventually emerge into leaders.
Blake said that he is experiencing many sleepless nights, but he and his FreshSouls team are dedicated to serve and change the lives of children all over the world.
For more information about FreshSouls, contact Micklos Blake at