Thanks to Deborah and John Hausladen of Malvern, Pennsylvania, many deployed soldiers who are missing their families are finding happiness in the form of sneakers.
As a military mom, Deborah understands how difficult it is for service members to live in harsh environments without a good pair of athletic shoes. That’s why she and her husband are on a mission to send some comfort to our heroes!
Deborah will never forget the call she got from her son when he was serving in Afghanistan. The tennis shoes he had been issued were already worn down, and he desperately needed a new pair.
While the military doesn’t replace athletic shoes, Deborah was more than happy to send him some, but the encounter got her thinking. How many other soldiers were facing the same issue?
Inspired, she and John came up with Sneakers for Soldiers, a nonprofit that ships 300 pairs of shoes to service members in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria every month. They’re funded by generous donations, and each pair is chosen based on the individual’s feet and the conditions where they’re living.
After ABC News featured Sneakers for Soldiers last year, even more donations came flooding in from people all over the country. Within a week, they had received an incredible $300,000, and Deborah and John were thrilled.
“Yes, the soldiers need to replace worn out sneakers. Yes, the soldiers are grateful for the gift,” the couple wrote on their website. “But, most importantly, the soldiers are grateful that people care about them and have not forgotten them.”
Since the Hausladens founded the organization in April 2018, they’ve shipped more than 2,600 pairs of shoes! Not to mention, their generosity has spread like wildfire, with more than $113,000 in donations pouring in last month.
These gifts are appreciated even more during the novel coronavirus pandemic. It’s hard to be far from loved ones, so to the recipients, the shoes mean the world.
“Back home, things aren’t great right now. We got the pandemic going on,” Master Sgt. David told ABC News. “Just knowing that we’re not forgotten while we’re out here serving makes the time go by so much easier.”
What a wonderful way to take care of our country’s heroes and show them appreciation! Want to help send more shoes? You can donate here.
Learn more about Sneakers for Soldiers’ impact on military families in the video below, and share this story to spread the word.
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