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South Dakota 4-H Donates Thousands of Shoes for Non-Profit

November 25, 2019
a group of young people representing the State 4-H Ambassadors

State 4-H Ambassadors on the Teen Leadership Conference committee kick-off the Soles4Souls 4-H community service project. Back row from left to right: Julia Ebbinga, Turner County; Taylor McMartin, Turner County; Sydney Hoffman, McCook County; Nathan Linke, Sanborn County; Emily Foiles, Clark County; Laura Bogue, Lincoln County. Front row from left to right: Alisha McMartin, Turner County; and Hailie Stuck, Spink County.

several groups of young adults boxing shoes
Three assembly lines formed at Teen Leadership Conference to allow delegates to process and package donated shoes.

BROOKINGS, S.D. - The South Dakota 4-H Youth Development Program donated 8,413 pairs of shoes over the span of one year during their statewide community service project to the Soles4Souls non-profit organization.

The collected shoes will go to youth and families in need and help community members in developing countries create a micro-enterprise. Consequently, these micro-enterprises will assist in generating a stable economy.

4-H enthusiasts across the state assisted in this process by donating new or gently used shoes at their local 4-H and SDSU Extension offices. Collected shoes were packaged, counted and shipped to Soles4Souls for distribution. 

“Strengthening entrepreneurial access in the global community while seeing our youth build leadership and empathy skills really made this project special,” said Tim Tanner, South Dakota 4-H Program Director. “I couldn’t be more proud of the generosity and care that went into the South Dakota 4-H Soles4Souls Project.”

Lincoln County 4-H is being recognized as the county with the most impact for this project, as they collected 571 pairs of shoes. They will receive a plaque in recognition of their hard work and devotion to civic involvement. 

a group of young adults sorting shoes
Delegates work to sort over 6,000 pairs of shoes during the community service session at Teen Leadership Conference.

The largest shoe processing effort occurred at the annual SDSU Extension 4-H Teen Leadership Conference, where over 100 delegates packaged 6,136 pairs of shoes. This experience provided teens with a hands-on civic opportunity.

“Community service teaches 4-H members to be better citizens and help give back to the community around them,” explained Kate DeVelder, a Lincoln County 4-H member and State 4-H Leadership Ambassador. “It’s amazing to know that something one organization did in one state can impact the whole world.”

South Dakota 4-H hosts a statewide community service project annually. Contact your local 4-H office to get involved with future 4-H community service projects.

About South Dakota 4-H:

SDSU Extension's 4-H Youth Development Program is a partnership of federal (USDA), state land-grant university and county resources through youth outreach activities. Youth learn about and experience leadership, health and wellness, science and agriculture through a network of professional staff and volunteers reaching more than 9,000 enrolled members with yearly programming efforts extended to an additional 35,000 youth participants.

a group of adults and children sorting shoes
Jones Loflin, Teen Leadership Conference keynote workshop facilitator, assists several conference delegates in sorting shoes donated for the Soles4Souls 4-H community service project.