Sole Providers

Bright Futures program spotlight: Sole Providers
Posted on 11/04/2014

For the past eight years, sneakers to be distributed to students in need across campus have magically appeared in the mailroom of the Administrative Building, it would seem.

The 10 kind souls behind the deliveries, who wish to remain nameless, are part of the Sole Providers organization. Thanks to private donations, the nonprofit has gone from 80 pairs of locally purchased sneakers per school year to 250, recently including summer school for the first time.

“We realized teachers were spending their own money to buy these kids things—out of pocket! Teachers are just amazing little people,” said the Sole Providers board secretary, affectionately known as the Shoe Lady. “We can’t fix everything—we can’t make a home happier, but we feel we’re doing a small part providing the shoes so other people can fill other needs. It’s a ministry to us.”

Former coach and physical education teacher of the 5th & 6th Grade Center, Roger Stickland, who began an annual sneaker drive during his tenure, passed the baton to the Sole Providers upon retiring. The Sole Providers incorporated the 501c3, and took the concept a step further in Strickland’s honor by supplying new sneakers instead of gently used pairs.

With the launch of Bright Futures Poplar Bluff last month, Sole Providers will become one of the charitable programs already in existence now coordinated under the new umbrella organization. For more information, contact R-I social workers Carrie Booker or Donna Moore by calling 573-785-7751.

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Cutline: A routine occurrence, custodian John Ethridge picks up mail for the 5th & 6th Grade Center in the Administrative Building, which includes multiple pairs of sneakers for students in need.

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