Sole Drivers by ProQuest


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      Sole Drivers
       Allan and Silvana Clark’s goodwill
       odyssey for Soles4Souls delivers the
       charity’s message. By Greg Dutter

       FOOTWEAR PLUS CAUGHT up with “Sole Am-
       bassadors” Allan and Silvana Clark last month as
       they were making their way along a snowy stretch
       of deserted Alabama highway to New Orleans for
                                                                                                                                                             Silvana Clark shows off
       an event designed to raise awareness about in-                                                                                                        donations to Soles4Souls’
       dustry charity Soles4Souls. Despite spotty cell                                                                                                       mobile shoe drive.
       phone reception and dicey weather conditions,
       co-pilot Silvana filled us in on the goodwill odys-
       sey she and her husband have been on for the past eight months.                        On the road, there have been memorable moments aplenty. Silvana recalls
          The Clarks have made appearances at more than 100 events along the way,          being at a three-day shoe drive at Walmart’s Bentonville, AK, headquarters
       visiting numerous retailers, schools and houses of worship in their custom-         and hearing a father explain to his 4-year-old son why they should donate
       wrapped Soles4Souls RV. In fact, the highly visible motorhome often serves as       his beloved but too small shoes. Unwilling to part with them on day one, they
       a rolling calling card for donations. “We often get unsolicited donations while     came back the next day and the boy tearfully complied. “Even though it must
       we are staying in campgrounds,” Silvana says. “We’ll be out for a                                      have been painful, it was nice to see the father take that much
       walk, and when we come back, there will be a pair of shoes on                                          time with his son explaining a good cause,” Silvana says.
       our picnic table.” And while the RV’s main purpose is to be an TRAVEL LOG                                  Those aren’t the only tears that have been shed during
       attention-getter—not a collection bin—Silvana says it doesn’t stop                                     the Clarks’ travels. Silvana recalls a shoe drive at a Foot
                                                                           Mileage to date: 23,000
       people from pulling alongside their RV, waving for them to pull                                        Solutions store in Georgia, at which a man donated about
                                                                           Daily mileage: Around 150
       over because they happen to have shoes in their car to donate.                                         40 pairs. They had belonged to his sister and her husband,
                                                                           Months on the road: 8
          Wayne Elsey, founder and CEO of Nashville, TN-based                                                 who had recently died in a car accident. “He said she would
                                                                           States visited: 24
       Soles4Souls, could not have imagined a better return on his                                            want us to have them and then started crying,” Silvana says,
                                                                           Travel traditions: A high-
       used-RV investment, which occurred in response to the cou-                                             adding similar situations have occurred at least five times.
                                                                           five upon crossing a state line
       ple’s out-of-the-blue offer to tour the country in support of the                                      “The [families] don’t want a receipt or anything,” she adds.
                                                                           Must-haves: GPS device,
       charity. “We became empty-nesters wondering what to do,”                                               “I get choked up thinking about it.”
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