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Teen Collects 30,000 Pairs of Shoes to Donate ‘Dignity’ to LA Homeless


For children raised in the Jewish faith, a bar or bat mitzvah is the celebration of the symbolic passage to adulthood. Although at 13 we are not really adults, we can begin to see our place in the larger world.

What Lindsay Sobel saw in the months leading up to her own bat mitzvah was that a life of privilege was not a blessing that everyone shared, and she was determined to do something about it.

As he became increasingly aware of the daily obstacles faced by homeless people living on the streets of Los Angeles, one thing Sobel saw over and over again was how many lacked proper footwear.

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“I realized that many of them were in really horrible living conditions, in no way should anyone have to live. Besides that, I noticed that many of them did not even have shoes, “he said in an interview with A powerful girl. “At 12, I was like, ‘Don’t people have shoes?’ It put things in perspective for me. “

For her, Tikkun Olam, an “act of reparation of the world” central to the bat mitzvah ceremony, Sobel came up with the idea of ​​launching Soles shoes, a charitable program that collects and distributes shoes for the needy of Southern California.

“Part of the requirement to have a bar or bat mitzvah is that you give back to your community in some way, you give back to the world,” Sobel said. KNX-1070 News Radio. “I decided I wanted to give back as much as I could.”

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Since its inception, Shoes for Soles has “relocated” more than 30,000 pairs of well-worn used shoes collected during shoe drives at school and thanks to fellow volleyball players and their families.

When the coronavirus pandemic dried up many of his usual sources, Sobel took to the internet to solicit donations through the Next Door app. The drip became a steady stream once more.

Sobel only accepts shoes in good condition. “I want to try to give the best experience to all the people,” he told A Mighty Girl. “… A fresh new pair of shoes can really brighten someone’s day, brighten their attitude and outlook on life.”

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Shoes are such a simple thing, but the repercussions of not having them can affect everything from health to mobility to the ability to look for work. “That pair of shoes could change someone’s life,” Sobel told KNX-1070.

Obviously, Sobel’s mission to help people below do their best is something she believes in her heart and “plant.” While she has received numerous accolades for her efforts, seeing the impact her act of repairing the world has had on her community has been its own reward.

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A recent visit to Beach Mission gave Sobel the opportunity to see how his hard work is paying off. “Exist [so] many homeless people right now and the challenge for me is how can I help as many of them as possible, ”he told Los Angeles Daily News. “It was an opportunity to see who I am giving the shoes to in person. I felt very good about myself and very good about the community. “

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