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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State softball team will host the Soles4Souls University RV Tour  during its home doubleheader against Penn State at 5 p.m. April 27 at Buckeye Field. Soles4Souls is a Nashville-based charity that collects new and used shoes to distribute to people in need around the world. Ohio State is one of eight universities the charity is visiting to help spread word about Soles4Souls and to get college students involved in the mission.  

“We were contacted by Soles4Souls and I thought this was a great opportunity to partner up in,” head coach Linda Kalafatis said. “We are happy to be a location spot for them and hopefully people will come out and support this great cause. I know I can certainly clean out my closet and we hope our fans will take the time to do the same and we are able to help people in need.”

The Soles4Souls University RV Tour will be available outside the gates of Buckeye Field, home of Ohio State softball, at the start of the Buckeyes’ Big Ten doubleheader vs. the Nittany Lions next week. Soles4Souls accepts all types of shoes in all sizes: athletic, running, dress, sandals, pumps, heels, work boots, cleats, dance, flip flops, just as long as they are new or gently worn.

Here are some facts available on their website and for more information on how to help, visit www.soles4souls.org:

  • Shoes help prevent the spread of parasitic diseases that plague over 1.4 billion people worldwide, and they are a basic human necessity. The reality of life for many individuals in developing nations is that having a pair of shoes is a rarity. It is not uncommon for children to grow up in these areas without ever having had a pair of shoes at all.
  • The number of barefoot orphaned children, in Sub-Saharan Africa alone, is estimated to be above 20 million.
  • Over 300 million children worldwide are without shoes.
  • Shoes are very often considered a required part of the school uniform in developing countries, and without shoes, many children are unable to attend school.
  • Many serious health conditions can be absorbed through the feet, even through the toughest soles. As the skin on the bottom of the feet toughens and thickens, large cracks can form, which allows parasitic infections such as hookworm and threadworm to penetrate the skin. In addition, constant cuts and scrapes to the feet and ankles frequently become infected and many of these infections can lead to ulcers and worse.
  • Some of the most dangerous conditions of going barefoot is the risk of puncture wounds, cuts, scrapes and burns to the feet. These injuries are almost never treated and can lead to serious infections, amputations and even death. With the number of children living in abject poverty and therefore surviving at a scavenger’s existence, the feet are at tremendous risk as the child hunts for food or household items in garbage dumps, abandoned housing/construction areas, or while crossing through open sewer trenches and contaminated areas.
  • In addition to infections brought on by external injuries, a child’s bare foot is particularly at risk of infection by hookworm. Especially at risk are children living in African and Southeast Asian countries, where hookworm infections are about 60 times more common.