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Oak Ridge Students Kick Off Shoe Drive to Help Victims of Japan's Earthquake and Tsunami and Others in Need

On Tuesday, March 29, 2011, David Graben, Executive Director for Soles4Souls will be visiting students at Oak Ridge schools to kick off a shoe collection drive to help people in need both here and abroad in Japan and 3rd world countries. Graben will explain his organization to the students and how they can impact lives.

The shoe drive is a month-long effort as part of the Oak Ridge Earth Day Festival and Green Mile Race to be held on April 29th and 30th. See for more information.

Students will be collecting all types of children, men and women shoes that have usable life.

Organizers of this year's Oak Ridge Earth Day Festival will host a one-mile "Green Mile Run" competition on Friday, April 29th . The event organized by Judy Wilson of Team iRun, will be held at the Oak Ridge High School track. The event is sanctioned by USA Track and Field and will include electronic timing for precision.

Children ages 8 through 18 will race 1 mile around the track between 4:30 and 6:30 PM. Adults over 18 will participate in 1 mile runs from 6:30 until 10 PM. Racers will be organized based on age, gender, and seed time. Corporate team and Open Elite races are also being offered. The entrance fee is $10 per child and $20 per adult individual racers. A special free "fun run" for children 7 and under will be held at AK Bissell Park, the Earth Day Festival site, on Saturday at 1 PM. Registration for the free fun run will be 12:00-12:45pm at the Team iRun table.

When Earth Day 2011 began planning for the Green Mile race, the planning group wanted to ensure it tied in with the Earth Day mission: to educate, encourage, and empower individuals to create a more sustainable community. The race is geared for getting kids of all ages, young and old alike outside enjoying nature. Studies have found that kids who have no connection to nature will have very little desire to save her when they get older. With a one mile race, you are limited to how many people can participate. The million dollar question; "How can the race do something for the whole community?"

Enter, Soles4Souls, a massive shoe drive. Not only are the schools and preschools of Oak Ridge competing but now five major corporations are competing in their own drives; UT-Battelle, Bechtel, SAIC, USEC, and Mercy West.

Additional race details and registration for the race can be accessed via the Earth Day Festival website The deadline for registering online is April 19, although space for each age group is limited so interested participants are encouraged to sign up early.

True to their calling, several area churches opened their doors and hearts to those in need. Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist, First United Methodist, United Church, First Cumberland Presbyterian, Grace Lutheran Church, Little Leaf Baptist Church, First Christian Church, High Places, Christ Community church and New York Church of Christ are encouraging their congregants to take part in the shoe drive.

About Soles4SoulsĀ® Soles4Souls collects, recycles and reuses shoes from warehouses of footwear companies and the closets of individuals like you. Since 2005, Soles4Souls has given away over 13 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes (currently distributing one pair every 7 seconds) to people in 125 countries, including Haiti, Kenya, Nepal, Japan and the United States. Fifty-five percent (55%) of the shoe distributions are right here in the United States. Those who graciously give their shoes are assured their donations are distributed to people around the world living in desperate need. Their motto is Change the World One Pair at a TimeĀ®. Visit: for more information.

Published March 28, 2011

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