February 18, 2018
A valid driver’s license, a copy of your social security card, and a voided check.
For many of us, these are the things that spring to mind when thinking of items required before you can start a new job. However, for an increasing amount of jobs, an additional item is equally necessary: steel toe boots. For those less fortunate, the requirement of steel toe boots provides yet another obstacle for them to navigate when trying to find employment.
Jeremy Coffey realized this first hand while running his commercial cleaning business, when many of his employees struggled to find room in their budgets to purchase the boots that more and more of his contractors required. Coffey saw this issue and decided to do something about it. So he created Good Soles, a grassroots non-profit founded in December of 2016.
“I wanted to come up with a way that people who wanted to work could work without anything holding them back. Especially a pair of boots,” Coffey said. In 2017, its first full year of operation, Good Soles was able to give 365 pairs of steel toe boots to The Men’s Shelter of Charlotte. This year Good Soles is expanding its reach to also help out the Charlotte Rescue Mission and the Wayne Brother’s Constructions’ After School program. With the expanded outreach, Coffey is hoping for an increase in donations, to reach the goal of giving away over 700 pairs of boots by years end.
In order to accomplish that, Good Soles will have to promote its efforts. On March 6, the Charlotte Hornets are scheduled to take on the Philadelphia 76ers, and Good Soles will have the distinction of being the Hornets’ nonprofit of the night. The honor is part of the Hornets’ “Community Corner” program, an initiative started in 2013 to help shine light on local nonprofits and the positive work they do within the Charlotte community.
“We want to use the Hornets game to promote Good Soles to a larger audience that we would otherwise not be able to reach,” Coffey said. In addition to having a table in the Community Corner where they can distribute information and receive donations, Good Soles will also receive proceeds from game tickets purchased here.
While the outcome of the Hornets game is uncertain, what is certain is any donation received at the game, no matter how big or small, will be a step in the right direction for some members of the community. It’s not because steel toe boots are intrinsically life-changing but because, with the steel toe boots, people in our community will have the opportunity to work and an opportunity to change their lives for the better. In fact, Coffey says that he is most proud of the fact that many of the men who received boots in Good Soles’ first year are now out of the shelter and living on their own.
Follow Good Soles on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and purchase tickets to see the Philadelphia 76ers take on the Charlotte Hornets on March 6 to benefit the cause.