During coronavirus, many around the world have sought to find a way to do their part. As a result, one mother-led non-profit has donated more sneakers than ever before to U.S. soldiers stationed overseas!
Sneakers for Soldiers
Deborah Hausladen, above, right, first founded her non-profit, Sneakers for Soldiers, in April of 2018. Back then, she felt inspired after her son, who served in the military overseas, told her that he lacked a good pair of shoes. Instantly, Hausladen wanted to make sure that every U.S. soldier around the world had a safe place to literally put their feet. So, she founded Sneakers for Soldiers and started shipping shoes to military men and women. Now, Hausladen’s organization ships around 300 pairs of shoes every month to places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.
A year after the organization’s founding, Hausladen went on World News Tonight to promote Sneakers for Soldiers. As a result, the organization received over $300,000 in donations, which turned into a whopping “2,600 pairs of sneakers to troops deployed to combat zones and imminent danger areas!” And just recently, those servicemen and women said a special thank you to Hausladen, who never forgot about them, even during a pandemic!
Each Pair Is Special
Believe it or not, Sneakers For Soldiers does not simply buy mass quantities of shoes. Every pair of shoes is specially chosen for the solider it is going to. Representatives talk to the military members, listen to their concerns, and then pick the best pair of sneakers possible! Along with the shoes, they include notes and labels that remind them of just how loved and appreciated they are.
When Hausladen continued to send sneakers, even during coronavirus, a lot of servicemen and women contacted ABC News to properly thank the organization. Corporal Ethan felt particularly thankful, as Sneakers For Soldiers managed to send him his favorite pair of shoes! “With COVID-19 restrictions, I was having a really hard time finding a new replacement pair,” he told ABC News. “I’m so appreciative to have [them], thank you.”
Most soldiers explained that receiving sneakers made them feel not so alone in the world. “Back home, things aren’t great right now. We got the pandemic going on,” Master Sgt. David told ABC News. “Just knowing that we’re not forgotten while we’re out here serving makes the time go by so much easier.”
Meanwhile, families of military men and women also thanked the non-profit for their good deeds on social media. Shanina, wife of one of the servicemen, and her four children, Lauren, Gavin, Colin, and Alyssa, posted one of the messages. “[We] want to thank Sneakers for Soldiers for remembering our special soldier. Thank you for sending not only him, but his entire unit sneakers,” Shanina said. “We appreciate you remembering them while they’re away from home.”
Her husband, First Lt. Tony told ABC News how much is meant to unbox the shoes: “When those boxes arrived, and we opened them up, I’m talking about adult soldiers, men, and women, smiling like Christmas.” It doesn’t get any better than that! If you would like to help Sneakers For Soldiers, you can visit their website.