-- Anti-poverty organization and its partners bring supplies to the islands of Vanuatu
NASHVILLE, Tennessee, May 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Soles4Souls, a global social enterprise that collects shoes and distributes them to people in need around the globe, has teamed up with Carnival Australia, Virgin Australia and Virgin Atlantic Cargo to provide shoes and clothing to people in need in Vanuatu following the devastation of Cyclone Pam that hit in March 2015. Through this partnership, Soles4Souls will be able to distribute 10,000 pieces of clothing (including shirts, shorts and skirts) and 20,580 pairs of flip-flops. Carnival Australia and Virgin Australia have donated their cruise ships and planes to bring these items to Vanuatu.
"Sometimes, the most challenging part of our job isn't getting items donated, but distributing those items to people in hard to reach places who need them," said Buddy Teaster, CEO of Soles4Souls. "It's through partnerships with generous, innovative companies like Carnival Australia and Virgin Australia that we're able to see our mission through to the end. We're grateful and inspired that they've stepped up to transport this important shipment."
The Vanuatu islands, situated 1,090 miles east of northern Australia, was devastated by Cyclone Pam in March.The storm was regarded as one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the island and left behind destruction, death and injury. Thousands of homes, schools and buildings were damaged or destroyed, with an estimated 3,300 people displaced as a result. Many were left without proper footwear and clothing, leaving them susceptible to injury and disease.
"Supplying footwear in the form of easy-to-freight and fast-to-deliver flip flops might not seem an obvious disaster relief measure at first glance, but Soles4Souls knows from experience that it is because it delivers on a fundamental need," said Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry. "Carnival Australia is very pleased to work with Soles4Souls in using our ships to deliver thousands of pairs of flip flops to Vanuatu to provide basic foot protection in the wake of the devastation caused by Cyclone Pam. It's a simple idea and a good one that will be greatly appreciated by the people of Vanuatu many of whom lost everything in the cyclone disaster."
The Soles4Souls clothing and shoes were transported at no cost from Los Angeles to Brisbane, Australia by Virgin Australia. The airline flies to Port Vila, Vanuatu and has been providing support in the wake of Cyclone Pam.
John Lloyd, Senior Vice President Cargo for Virgin Atlantic, which manages Virgin Australia's long-haul international cargo capacity, said: "We are pleased that through our combined efforts we have been able to help victims of the cyclone. I also want to acknowledge the support of our partners who also gave their administration, trucking, cargo handling and freight forwarding services free of charge as part of this relief effort, notably Intel-AWA Logistics, Worldwide Flight Services and Forward Air in the U.S. and dnata and Geodis Wilson in Brisbane. This was a real team effort."
Soles4Souls is a global social enterprise committed to fighting the devastating impact and perpetuation of poverty. The organization advances its anti-poverty mission by collecting new and used shoes and clothes from individuals, schools, faith-based institutions, civic organizations and corporate partners, then distributing those shoes and clothes both via direct donations to people in need and by provisioning qualified micro-enterprise programs designed to create jobs in poor and disadvantaged communities. Since it began, Soles4Souls has distributed more than 22 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Soles4Souls is committed to the highest standards of operating and governance, and holds a four-star rating with Charity Navigator. Please visit www.soles4souls.org for more information.