One of my favorite parts about the organization is that they employ local shoe makers to make the shoes that they distribute. I read once about how some well-meaning shoe companies had actually hurt communities by giving everyone a pair of shoes, putting the local cobblers out of business and causing them to have to move elsewhere for work. Then when those shoes had been worn though there was no where to get shoes. I love this more sustainable approach. Best of all, they invite people like you and I to be a part of this process. The shoes are all made out of recycled blue jean or denim. In order to make shipping as efficient as possible, Sole Hope asks groups in the U.S. to get together and have a "Shoe Cutting Party." Last week we had a cutting party and it was fun and easy! We gathered up our old jeans that have been waiting for a project such as this. The fronts of these pants are pretty worn,
but the backs are still in great shape, perfect for cutting out shoe pieces! If you don't have jeans, you can also just buy a few XL pairs at the thrift store.
So we rounded up our jeans,
ordered a party pack with the patterns and instructions (order a cutting party here), and invited friends to come over and trace and cut.
For each pair ten pieces get cut out of denim
and two pieces get cut out of plastic milk jugs, as heel supports.
Then all those pieces get pinned together and labeled,
and put into packs of 10 in a gallon size bag. Everyone that comes is asked to bring just $10 help cover the cost of paying the shoe makers in Uganda, and shipping the materials. Best $10 you'll spend!
When you see how much trash there is just between all the seams, buttons and pockets, you realize how efficient it really is to cut them here and ship only the needed pieces. We saved the pockets for a later project...stay tuned :)
I have already planned a second cutting party, and I'm thinking this will be something we do on a regular basis. I love their awesome holistic model. Check out Sole Hope's website here.