It's Good for the Sole to collect shoes for people in need

Shawn Hardy
Echo Pilot

It wasn't one for the record books, but the Good for the Sole shoe collection still put its best foot forward.

Around 9,000 pairs were donated to the effort spearheaded by the Greencastle-based VerStandig Media and supported by ELM Shoes, Middletown Valley Bank, Chambersburg Waste Paper and the Borough of Greencastle.

On-air personalities Sugar Ray of The GOAT, left, and Nasty Bob of Bob Rocks stand in the trailer filled with boxes of shoes donated to Good for the Sole.

It would have taken close to 3,500 more pairs to break the Guinness World Record of 12,482 for the longest chain of shoes set by the Shoeman Water Project at the University of Missouri in May 2011.

On-air personalities Nasty Bob of 101.5 Bob Rocks and Sugar Ray of 92.1 The GOAT came up with the idea to attempt to set a new record.

The six-week collection was supposed to end with the shoes lined up in downtown Greencastle on Saturday, June 5.

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Organizers knew a few days before they were short of the goal and opted not to put any more stress on the ELM staff and the Borough of Greencastle by setting up the shoes, according to Blake Truman, VerStandig vice president.

"While we did not break the world record, we are overwhelmed by the response from the community," Truman said. "We know thousands and thousands will benefit so it's a massive success."

Some of the shoes will go to Women In Need in Chambersburg, Children in Need in Hagerstown and Soles of Love, which serves the tri-state area of West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, and other local charities are being contacted.

Additional shoes will be donated to Soles for Souls for overseas distribution.

Representatives of VerStandig Media, ELM Shoes, Middletown Valley Bank, Chambersburg Waste Paper, the Borough of Greencastle and the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce got together outside ELM Shoes and learned around 9,000 pairs of shoes were donated to the Good for the Sole collection.

Shoes stack up

ELM Shoes has long worked with Soles for Souls and owner Loren Martin said he thought trying to break the record for the longest chain of shoes was a cool, fun idea.

ELM Shoes was the main collection site, and donors got a $10 off coupon for each pair they donated.

"About three weeks in, it really started to gain traction," Martin said. He was making one or two trips a day with boxes of shoes double-stacked in the bed of his pickup from the store on Center Square in Greencastle to the parking lot of the old Sheetz a few blocks away, where they were stored in a trailer donated by Chambersburg Waste Paper.

Supporters and sponsors got together outside ELM and then at the trailer Monday morning for photos and a look at some of the shoes.

Lisa Wolfe, VerStandig sales manager, pointed out a teeny, tiny pair of sandals, while Nasty Bob showed samples of ladies' footwear. The selection ranged from sturdy men's shoes to impossibly high women's heels.

The trailer was packed front to back and bottom to top with boxes and boxes and boxes of shoes, and more remained at ELM.

Lisa Wolfe, sales manager of VerStandig Media, holds a tiny pair of sandals donated to Good for the Sole.

People dropping off shoes at ELM often asked about how close they were to the record and were interested in helping out, Martin said.

"I think it was a pretty lofty goal, but I thought we could get there," he said. "I'm still pretty proud we collected 9,000 pairs of shoes as a community."

"I'm very thankful we're going to be able to help charities across the tri-state," said Wolfe. "We'll impact a lot of lives, which was the goal."

"We wanted to help out the less fortunate in the area, and it seemed like a good time with people doing spring cleaning," said Matt South, marketing associate with Middletown Valley Bank, which opened its newest branch in Waynesboro in May.

"We're still proud and thankful for people who dropped off shoes at our branches and different locations," he said.

"It's a great cause and an opportunity to give back to the community that supports us," said Craig Adams, operations manager for Chambersburg Waste Paper.