The Sole Purpose

Sole Hope at California Lutheran University is a new club that provides students with the opportunity to make a global difference.

“Sole Hope is an already standing organization, a nonprofit organization,” Janelle Garland, president of Sole Hope at Cal Lutheran said. “The mission of Sole Hope is to prevent foot-related disease in Africa, and they do that through sustainability, education and relief.”

When Garland found the organization’s website, she got in contact with their team and made it possible to start a chapter of Sole Hope at Cal Lutheran.

“I believe this is the first one on a college campus, and the organization was willing to work with us to make that happen so that’s been really great,” Sole Hope faculty adviser Samuel Thomas said.

A huge part of Sole Hope’s mission is raising awareness of a foot-related disease in Africa. In Africa, jiggers, or sand fleas, are the source of foot diseases. These fleas burrow into human feet and lay eggs within the exposed flesh.

The people that Sole Hope reaches out to cannot afford shoes, so they have no protection from exposure to the fleas. This organization intends to promote change in Africa by providing shoes to those that don’t have the resources or money to get them otherwise.

Sole Hope holds supply drives and shoe cutting events to create products from recycled materials. The products created are then shipped overseas to children in Africa.

“It’s an organization that attempts to reuse materials, especially denim, and then create new products out of those. Typically shoes that then will go to people in need in poor areas,” Thomas said.

Garland and Vice President Rebecca Callahan are currently in the beginning stages of developing this service-driven club on campus. Garland and Callahan thought Sole Hope’s goals and vision would fit well with Cal Lutheran’s service-oriented mission.

“This cause just really seems like an interesting and good thing to do,” Callahan said.

“It creates community here among people who volunteer and get together and participate in what they call cutting parties and the preparation of the materials and the making of the shoes,” Thomas said.

As the club is very new, Garland and Callahan have set a series of both short-and-long-term goals for this new chapter of Sole Hope at Cal Lutheran.

“One of them is definitely to get some awareness on campus about the cause and the mission of Sole Hope in general,” Callahan said. “Then also to make a great impact and greatly help Sole Hope by having enough cutting parties or tracing parties where we can get them enough material so they can make shoes.”

The events to be held at Cal Lutheran will aid in the process of getting materials to Sole Hope, and more importantly shoes to the children in Africa.

“I think the student [Janelle Garland] who approached me about it and who I’ve been working with to get the club up and running felt like that could be something that fits really well with student interest here and with the mission of the university,” Thomas said.

Garland and Callahan will be setting up donation areas on campus where students and faculty will be able to drop off materials to be processed and sent to Sole Hope.

All students are welcome and encouraged to join and participate in the involvement with this non-profit organization.

“We have the main positions filled but if anybody ever wanted to help out and be an officer that would be great. Or if they just want to be a member that would also be great,” Garland said.

Students interested in involvement with this club can reach out to Garland and Callahan through their Facebook page, “Sole Hope at CLU.”

Jennifer Birch
Staff Writer
Published April 15th, 2015