Many American celebrities are donating their money and time to American charities during this pandemic, but actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas and her husband, singer-songwriter Nick Jonas, are taking it one step further. They have recently joined forces with the shoe brand Crocs and are donating 10,000 shoes to both healthcare workers in California and healthcare workers in India.

Previous Charity Work

In a tweet from March 31, Nick Jonas listed 10 organizations to which he and his wife have donated, one of which being UNICEF. Priyanka Chopra Jonas has worked as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF since 2016, acting as a voice for refugees, especially children. As an ambassador, she has visited many impoverished parts of the world and has witnessed lack of access to basic needs, one of which being clothing. Chopra Jonas and Crocs share a history of philanthropy as they donated 50,000 pairs of Crocs to poor children in Belize in 2019, with the help of UNICEF.

Why It Matters

With the rise of a global pandemic, Chopra Jonas and Crocs have teamed up again, this time for healthcare workers. Around 45% of Indian adults do not own cars and with an overwhelmed public transportation system that is now on lockdown, many Indians must walk to work–especially those with lower incomes. Nick Jonas, Chopra Jonas and Crocs are donating 10,000 Crocs to healthcare workers in India. The value of this donation is about $450,000 worth of shoes.

On its website, Crocs reports that overall, it has donated over 860,000 pairs of shoes to healthcare workers around the globe since March 25, 2020. The right pair of shoes can be helpful in many ways. Firstly, having protective footwear can prevent exposure to deadly toxins and parasites on the ground. Additionally, shoes that fit can allow people to walk, exercise and play without the risk of blistering. This is both a comfort issue and a health issue as blisters can lead to infection. People in poor communities often do not have the necessary antibiotics to stop infections. Shoes also have a lot of cultural importance. Footwear is used in many religious ceremonies around the globe, including India, and wearing shoes is considered a sign of cleanliness and pride.

How to Help

An organization called Soles4Souls works to help people bring themselves out of poverty by providing them with footwear, either to wear themselves or to sell. On the website is information about nearby drop-off locations and how to get free shipping with Zappos to donate shoes through the mail. Even just one pair of shoes can help a child get to school and can help an adult get to work.

Poverty often seems like an overwhelming and impossible problem, especially during a global pandemic. Fortunately, even a seemingly insignificant action – like donating shoes instead of throwing them away – can change a person’s outlook on life by helping them protect their feet and helping them get to and from work every day. UNICEF, the Jonas couple and Crocs are doing their parts to help lift people out of poverty, one pair of shoes at a time.

Levi Reyes

Photo: Flickr

Soles4Souls is a nonprofit, humanitarian organization based in Nashville, Tennessee, that is fighting global poverty by collecting and distributing shoes and clothes to the world’s most vulnerable. It also  supports micro-enterprise around the world. Sole4Souls engages in direct distribution of these supplies and also creates sustainable employment by providing shoes and textiles for impoverished people worldwide to sell to their communities.

On October 10, Soles4Souls urged the world’s privileged to make a choice and live a day without shoes with the Barefoot4Them initiative. Sole4Souls hopes that by going barefoot, people can raise awareness of the conditions that the world’s poor have to experience every day and which will the serve to spread the word about the organization.

By completing an online form, those who wished to participate in the global event received a printable card with the story of someone who is living in poverty and who needs shoes and clothing. Soles4Souls stresses the powerful impact that can be made by “going barefoot, sharing their story, and engaging others to get involved.”

Social media is also playing a large part of this initiative, with donating $1 for every photo posted of an individual going barefoot with the hashtag #barefoot4them.

Thus far, Soles4Souls has received and distributed millions of articles of shoes and clothing and has provided for many sustainable micro-enterprise jobs that have helped those in places where it is very hard to make a living.

– Rahul Shah

Sources: Soles4Souls, Sports & Social Change, PR Web
Photo: Imugr