Global food and beverage leader PepsiCo collected 1,438 pairs of shoes this summer to benefit vulnerable children served around the world by Shoes for Orphan Souls®, the largest humanitarian aid project of Buckner International.
This was the second year the Plano-based company’s summer interns organized the company-wide shoe drive, encouraging a little friendly competition between departments. During June and July, more than 146 employees raised $11,505 which went toward the purchase of 1,438 pairs of shoes for children in need.
“The shoe drive presented a unique opportunity for PepsiCo as a global company to partner with an international organization like Buckner for the sake of children around the world,” said Byron Johnson, PepsiCo University senior director. “The PepsiCo drive started out as a way to bring employees together for a good cause, but the more that we learned about Shoes for Orphan Souls, the more we discovered the impact we could have for children while giving our interns the chance to build relationships throughout the company.”
After collecting 261 pairs of shoes last year, the team of 77 PepsiCo interns set a goal this year of 500 pairs, only to exceed that goal by 551 percent. This year, PepsiCo Foundation committed to match all employee gifts of $25 or more.
“For many children around the world, a better way of life depends on something as simple as a pair of shoes,” Johnson said. “This year we partnered with Buckner to create a new approach to the shoe drive, an online donation site. When our people could see how their donations stacked against other teams, the donations skyrocketed. Next year, we think we will build traction earlier and we might just exceed our record numbers again.”
According to The State of the World’s Children as reported by UNICEF, there are 148 million orphans around the world. Orphanages do not receive enough funding to support the children in their care. One of the greatest and most immediate needs is a pair of shoes. Many of the children receive one pair of shoes to last the entire year, and some don’t have shoes at all.
When an orphan receives a new pair of shoes, it communicates love and helps them know they are not forgotten. New shoes provide hope for these children that someone cares about them. Shoes also protect feet from many diseases and help impoverished children go to school, since most schools around the world consider shoes to be an essential item.
“Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls is so grateful for the partnership with PepsiCo in providing shoes for the vulnerable children we serve in the United States and around the world,” said Ashley Williamson, Shoes for Orphan Souls manager. “Our hope is that by working together, we can broaden our reach to serve more children with the gift of new shoes.”
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