When Rikki Mendias was struck with the idea to hand out his treasured sneaker collection to the homeless living on the streets of Los Angeles, there was no way he could have known the magnitude that loving act would have on so many lives. Inspired by his personal experience with homelessness as a child and the impact of receiving a new pair of shoes, he realized that giving away his sneaker collection was his way to pay it forward. What originally blossomed as a thoughtful idea, put forth into action, subsequently bloomed into the nonprofit we know and love today – Hav A Sole.

On July 1st Hav A Sole celebrated its 5th anniversary and since Rikki first hit the streets with his sneaker collection, Hav A Sole has given out over 16,000 pairs of sneakers in 20 cities across the nation. From California to North Carolina, Hav A Sole has traveled across the country in search of those in need of new shoes and extra love. While we have left more than 16,000 individuals walking away with a new pair of shoes, our impact has reached thousands more due to our importance of fostering a sense of community through our purpose. Hav A Sole has brought countless caring souls together through social activism, whether it be through social media or volunteer work.

Of course, as we have always said, the shoes we give barely scratch the surface of what Hav A Sole is all about. As we have spent countless hours giving to those in need, we have spent just as much time, if not more, learning names, hearing stories, and sharing memories. Every person we meet, no matter where they find themselves on their journey in life, has a story worth listening to.

So, as we embark into our sixth year of operation, we hope to continue our mission of bringing people together, helping people feel seen, sharing heartfelt memories, and putting shoes on happy feet. On behalf of the Hav A Sole organization, thank you to everyone who continues to make the dream of Hav A Sole a reality. Hav A Sole would not be what it is today without everyone involved – from our partners to our board members, to our donors, to our volunteers – without your love and support, the success of Hav A Sole’s mission would not be possible.