Athletic shoes, a critical item for deployed soldiers, are not supplied by the military.
In Afghanistan, the extreme temperatures, harsh environment, rugged terrain, and daily exercise wreak havoc on soldiers’ athletic shoes and frequently creates the need for a new pair. The benefits of daily exercise are numerous in managing stress levels and in staying strong, but exercising in worn out shoes is just as bad as exercising in the wrong shoe. It increases the stress and impact on joints which can cause injuries. Studies have also shown that time spent out of boots, in proper fitting athletic shoes is critical to the health of our soldiers’ feet.
Recognizing this need, Sneakers for Soldiers partnered with Valley Forge Running Company who generously offered us discounts on quality athletic shoes. With the support of individuals and organizations from around the country, we are able to purchase high quality sneakers at a discounted price and send them to men and women serving in Afghanistan. The uniqueness of the program is that we have devised a way for each soldier to choose a sturdy athletic shoe that best fits their feet…because all feet are different.
Sneakers on Order
Behind the Operations
The idea for Sneakers for Soldiers began with a phone call from John and Deborah’s son while he was serving in Afghanistan, requesting a new pair of sneakers. Discovering that this critical item was not supplied by the military, John and Deborah formed Sneakers for Soldiers in April 2018. It’s a remarkable story of people quickly coming together, in support of soldiers deployed in Afghanistan, because they recognized that feet are our soldiers’ foundation.
Impressing the Media
In May 2018, FOX PHILLY’s Bill Anderson (For Goodness’ Sake) filmed the tagging and packaging of the first shipment of 21 shoes going to an Army Infantry Platoon in Afghanistan. It was so appropriate to be introduced to the Greater Philadelphia area over Memorial Day Weekend! Kristen Smith’s “Top 30” show followed in June.
The Soldiers are very grateful for their sneakers and your generosity. Read some of the emails we have received!
A Soldier Offered to Spread the Word on the Home Front
“Thank you so much for helping me out. I am truly grateful that there are organizations such as yours out there, helping soldiers out. If you give me the information, I will spread the word if people are looking to donate. It’s nice to support those that support us. Have a blessed day!”
Supplied a Sturdier Sneaker for EOD Specialists
“I talked to the guys and those shoes would work perfect. We are just tickled pink to get anything really.”
Perfect Fit – One Style Doesn’t Fit All!
“ We received our shoes and everybody loves them. They all fit perfectly. We can’t thank you enough for them. It means a lot.”
Sneakers On Their Feet, Smiles On Their Faces
“Thank you so much! You brought smiles to our entire team’s faces! “
Receiving New Sneakers Makes a Difference
“We’ve already seen some of the other guys receiving their sneakers and I’ll tell you, it really does make a difference – feeling the love and support of our fellow Americans…. 🙂 “
So Excited to Receive New Sneakers
“I finally got somewhere with some cell coverage. Sorry for the late reply. Again, thank you so much for your program. You have no clue how excited the guys got out here. They couldn’t believe it and were extremely grateful.”
From an Airman in an Undisclosed Location
“We are avid runners and have no access to new shoes here locally. We are broken up into several different flights and the attached are the runners club that has been chewing through the shoes they initially brought. I heard of the program by stumbling across some articles online. It is truly honorable and touching what you and your Church are doing for our service members.”
Imagine…A Soldier Wanting to Donate Back to Us!
A soldier writes: “I would like to know how and who I could make donations to. This type of donation is amazing. Since being here I’ve gone through two pairs of shoes. So I know how appreciative it is for the other guys here. Please let me know who to make donations to.”
The War is Still a Stark Reality
“Thank you again, for this amazing effort you and your husband have undertaken. It’s the small things, like pt shoes, coffee and kind words that make all the difference to my fellow Soldiers and I in these times. Despite going on for over 17 years, this war is still a stark reality for us. Thanks again! God bless! “
Word is Spreading
“I came across this today by happen chance when me and a fellow member were talking about how my shoes were
well used. He stated, to contact you.”
Rocky Terrain Takes its Toll
“The rocky terrain in Afghanistan quickly takes its toll on the athletic shoes here in Afghanistan and I would be extremely grateful if I were able to receive a pair. “
Thank You From an Army Officer in Special Forces
“Thanks again for all of the great things that you have done to support my Soldiers out here, you have been nothing short of wonderful”
Each Tag Has a Donor’s Name On It
“Thank you so much for the shoes they fit perfect!!!!! Thanks to Aux 5, as well. I support the FOP. We fight the war here, while they do there.”
A Soldier feels the American Spirit During the Holidays
“On these holidays, I am thankful for the kindness and generosity that you all have bestowed on me. It is a true reminder that the American spirit is alive. Have a blessed holiday”
Wishing Us to Get Bigger
I am very happy that it is getting bigger and you guys are being heard, this is a great program and hope it gets even bigger.
Super Happy… Makes Us Happy too!
“Just received the sneakers today! You guys are awesome. Thank you soo much! We are all super happy, I can’t say thank you enough.”
“This is so awesome! I can’t believe a program like this exists and supports us while we’re out here! “
Looking Out For Other Soldiers
I was referred to you by another soldier when I asked about his new sneakers , he told me you where able to help him when he was in need of some new shoes. I have a couple of soldiers who would greatly appreciate any help.
A Special Forces Team Leader Asked If We Were For Real
“I am just curious to see if this is real? We are out at a small outpost in Afghanistan with my special forces team and are interested in your program” (After receiving their sneakers) “We received our shoes and everybody loves them! They all fit perfectly. We can’t thank you enough for them. It means a lot. The guys were really happy. They all looked at each other and laughed because they didn’t believe they received the sneakers. We’re all surprised that a program like this exists. It really means so much. “
From a Special Forces Captain
“Just wanted you to know I received my sneakers thank you and your organization for doing this for the Soldiers that are deployed. It is much appreciated and you are doing an AMAZING thing with this great program. If I could ever help you in any way, please feel free to contact me.”
A Huge Thank You
“I was blown away and am really thankful for you guys support really means a lot, thanks for taking care of the other guys they are very pleased as well. Hope you have a wonderful day, thanks again.”
Sneakers Were Really Needed
“Thank you so much for sending me a new pair of sneakers. I was very happy to just receive any new shoes to be honest, cause mine were getting ready to speak to me. Thank you so much!”
From an EOD Specialist – Supplied Them with Gortex Shoes, Needed for Winter Months in Camps
“I just wanted to send a quick Thank You! for the shoes that you sent us recently. They look amazing and I can’t wait to wear them and run with them. The shoes arrived just before Veterans Day and were a great reminder how much support we continue to have back home. This is a great program that means a lot to all of the Soldiers that have received items from it. Once again thank you and I’ll wear them proudly!”
A Soldier Already Planning to Give Back
“Very inspirational and makes me wonder what I could do when I retire to help soldiers and people out “
Making a Difference in Another Way
One soldier wrote: “the terrain out here has destroyed my existing ones and I donated my other pair to an Afghan kid who didn’t have any shoes.”