SCOTTSDALE, AZ -- (Marketwired) -- 06/27/13 -- Member families, community members and owners of The Little Gym locations nationwide have donated more than 50,000 pairs of gently worn shoes to benefit Soles4Souls, Inc., the global not-for-profit institution dedicated to fighting poverty.
The Little Gym's philanthropic campaign "Big Hearts, Little Shoes" is an interactive way for children to learn the value of charity and for parents and children to participate in a cause together. This campaign is the first for Soles4Souls that is focused on collecting children's shoes, a major need for children living in poverty around the globe. In just 10 months, The Little Gym families collected 50,000 pairs, or roughly the equivalent of the height of 26 Empire State Buildings!
The Little Gym of Ashburn, Va., collected the most soles overall with 6,187 pairs of shoes donated by member families. The gym's owners, Chad and Tiffany Mussmon, will join with Travel4Souls to distribute shoes to families in need overseas. Travel4Souls is a division of Soles4Souls that provides opportunities for volunteers to travel and distribute shoes to those in need in developing countries.
Two runners-up were The Little Gym of Columbia, S.C., and The Little Gym of Greensboro, N.C., each collecting more than 4,000 pairs of shoes. The cable network Sprout, the 24-hour preschool channel parents and kids share together, will be providing the three top gyms with a costume character visit this fall as a thank you to those communities for their participation in "Big Hearts, Little Shoes" and in recognition of the "kind acts" as a part of their Kindness Counts initiative.
"This program really showed how the smallest of deeds can make a big impact," said Bob Bingham, President & CEO, The Little Gym International. "Children outgrow their shoes quickly. By providing an outlet for The Little Gym families to share their gently worn shoes, our members have been able to help Soles4Souls provide for children in need in communities worldwide."
"The footwear donated through this partnership with The Little Gym will enable us to expand our micro enterprise program and change lives around the world," said Buddy Teaster, Chief Executive Officer of Soles4Souls. "Something as simple as a pair of shoes is vital for hard-working people who only want to clothe, educate and feed their own families. We are grateful to The Little Gym for using their platform to bring awareness to our mission."
An animated update video about the "Big Hearts, Little Shoes" campaign starring the voice of child actor Jonathan Morgan Heit ("Jake and the Never Land Pirates," "Bedtime Stories") is featured on http://thelittlegym.com/BigHeartsLittleShoes. Many The Little Gym locations will continue to be drop-off locations for gently-worn shoes to benefit Soles4Souls. A current list of participating gyms can be found on the Soles4Souls website, at http://www.soles4souls.org/about/locations.html.
About The Little Gym
The Little Gym is the world's premier experiential learning and physical development center for kids ages four months through 12 years. To parents, The Little Gym is an internationally recognized child development program, proven to teach social and physical skills appropriate to each stage of childhood by creating opportunities to experience achievement and build self-confidence. The Little Gym has locations in 29 countries and is represented by 205 locations in the U.S. and 300 total worldwide. For more information, visit The Little Gym at www.TheLittleGym.com.
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