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 offers us all the opportunity to show our support for our troops in a practical way by replacing their worn out 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 deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq and in other Imminent Danger Areas and Designated Combat Zones.
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.
Impressing the Media
Our organization is growing and it’s gaining attention locally and nationally!
On July 22, 2019, we were featured on ABC World News Tonight with David Muir on his America Strong segment. The next night, on July 23, 2019, he featured us again after the overwhelming response.
A year later, on July 21, 2020, and again on July 23, David Muir brought us back to highlight the difference your donations have made and the appreciation from our deployed service members and their families.
Thank you to everyone who tuned in, helped share our story, and made donations. Most importantly, we thank you for letting our troops know you are standing behind them as they defend America.
The Soldiers are very grateful for their sneakers and your generosity. Read some of their rotating emails below.
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”
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.”
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 “
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…. 🙂 “
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.”
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.”
It’s actually here…
“Everyone was surprised and so happy when I opened the box this morning. It’s actually here. This is really a great way to boost the morale of the Soldiers. Nothing I can imagine can be better than this. Our best appreciation to you and your organization to support our Army and our great Nation. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
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.”
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”
Putting his new sneakers to good use, this soldier raised money for children at St. Jude
“Thank you so much for the shoes and the nice card. Myself and the rest of the team were so happy to receive them, it really made our day, and for me it came at a perfect time. I got super motivated with my new shoes and challenged myself to run 200 miles in the month of June for St. Jude Hospital for Children. I chose 200 miles as a personal goal because I wanted it to be a real challenge. Running long distances is not easy for me as a bigger guy but it’s absolutely nothing compared to the challenges others face. Also, the bravery and courage displayed by the little ones at St. Jude is very inspiring to me and my teammates.“
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! “
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. “
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.”
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.”
It Means the World to the Soldiers Here
“My team and I would like to express our sincere thanks for what you do. Staying healthy and fit while deployed is of great importance, both physically and mentally. With the new restrictions being brought about by the global pandemic, one of the only outlets our Soldiers have is physical fitness; particularly running. Personally, I love to run and my current pair of shoes has zero tread left and the uppers already have holes after 3 months. My brand new Salomon Sense Ride 2 shoes showed up two days ago along with four pairs for other Soldiers. We are all ecstatic and extremely appreciate to once again bounce down the road on fresh new soles. Please keep doing what you do! It means the world to the Soldiers here.”
“This is so awesome! I can’t believe a program like this exists and supports us while we’re out here! “
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. “
Detailed order forms lead to a perfect fit
“You guys are awesome. The shoes showed up today and there were zero issues, everything fit perfectly. The guys send out a big thank you, you really made their week. Me and all the leadership at Camp can’t thank you enough for the looks on their faces and for all that you do. Thanks again.”
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.”
Sneakers On Their Feet, Smiles On Their Faces
“Thank you so much! You brought smiles to our entire team’s faces! “
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!”
Appreciation Sent on Independence Day 2020
“Happy Independence Day to you, yours and your staff! The sneakers have been received and distributed accordingly. I have a stack of letters to forward to you in appreciation and wanted to personally thank you again for your support and commitment to supporting nameless, faceless soldiers serving abroad. You truly make a difference in people’s lives and your efforts have been nothing short of extraordinary. You are a true patriot! God speed.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
Feeling the Love and Support of Fellow Americans
“Our sneakers have arrived!!! My fellow Soldiers and I want to send yall our most heartfelt thanks and appreciation for your efforts! With quality trainers being well over $100 nowadays and how we burn through several pair of them a year throughout our time in service, this really is a wonderful way to feel the love and support of our fellow Americans. Take care, thanks again and God bless! ❤🇺🇸”
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!”
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.”
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!”
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.”