Nicholas Lowinger is filling big shoes — and little ones

nicholas_lowinger

Nicholas Lowinger was 5 years old when his mother took him to play with some children living in a nearby Rhode Island homeless shelter.

Despite being so young, he soon noticed that many of the children were wearing shoes that were either too big or too small, were falling apart or had to be shared with someone else.

I knew I had to do something more,” Lowinger said, recalling how he donated his own gently worn shoes.

In 2010, Lowinger had his chance when tasked with coming up with a service project in preparation for his bar mitzvah.

He started raising money and collecting new footwear to donate to children living in local shelters. His efforts would evolve into a volunteer-run, nonprofit organization, the Gotta Have Sole Foundation, which has raised $250,000 and given new shoes to 15,000 children in 35 states.

The organization also widened its scope recently with two new projects that include providing veterans living at or below the poverty line with gift cards to footwear retailers and donating new athletic shoes to children from disadvantaged homes.

For his work with Gotta Have Soul, Lowinger, 16, a sophomore at The Wheeler School in Providence, R.I., was awarded the DillerTeen Tikkun Olam Award in 2013. He hopes to expand the reach of the organization’s work to all 50 states by the time he graduates from high school.

To know that I can have that kind of an effect and change someone’s life for the better, it’s an amazing feeling,” Lowinger said. “All of us [at Gotta Have Sole] are making this difference.”

 

 

Excerpt taken from http://www.jta.org/2014/04/10/life-religion/teen-heroes/nicholas-lowinger-is-filling-big-shoes-and-little-ones#ixzz38RQfL6o8

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