She’s Got Sole: Local Teen Collecting Shoes for Needy around the World

When Rachel Bigej turned 10 years old, she knew exactly what she wanted for her birthday: Shoes.

OK, you may be thinking, “Sure. She’s a little girl. Girls like shoes.” But that’s not what this was about. No, Rachel was collecting donations for a nonprofit called Soles4Souls. They’re a nonprofit that collects shoes and redistributes them to people in need here in the U.S. and around the world.

Back in the fourth grade, Rachel collected over 500 pairs of shoes, making a difference in the lives of hundreds of people. Now, she’s 16 and a junior at Canby High School, and this month, she’s holding another shoe drive. But, as she tells Mallory Gwynn, of Gwynn’s Coffehouse, on CTV 5, this time, her goal is a little more ambitious.

Rachel has set up donation points at Gwynn’s, at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Canby, and at all four Al’s Garden Center locations: Woodburn, Sherwood, Gresham and Wilsonville. The Wild Hare Saloon in Canby will also be holding a one-day drive on Oct. 15. She’ll be accepting donations of new and gently used shoes (in child and adult sizes) through the end of the month.

In March, Rachel and her mother will travel to the Dominican Republic with Soles4Souls. They’ll visit schools and orphanages, delivering shoes to needy people, many of whom have never owned a pair of shoes before. But before they fit the shoes on, for each one, they’ll take the time to wash their feet.

How does Rachel feel about that?

See the full interview with Rachel and Mallory:

Want to support free, useful, locally produced journalism like this? Then consider joining our monthly membership program, Canby Now Plus, for as little as $1 a month! You’ll help us sustain and expand our work, plus you can get access to exclusive content, cool merchandise and other goodies. Thanks!