There are many ways we can give back to society but I personally salute the people behind Protect A Sole (PAS). They are at the peak of their youth but they chose to channel their energies and knowledge in building and organizing a global non-profit organisation for a good cause.
We can all take part in promoting the prevention of diseases among our less fortunate brothers and sisters around the world and we can start in our communities and with the help of Protect a Sole (PAS), we can reach out to the right people who need our simple gestures to improve the quality of lives.
Got up close and personal with Michael Rizal, the President of PAS and a Pinoy at heart and here are few things he shared
WHAT IS PROTECT A SOLE (PAS)?
Protect A Sole (PAS) is a global charitable organization based in Los Angeles dedicated to diminishing issues held in poverty through the collection and donation of footwear. Its collaborative efforts aim to promote the importance of footwear as a safety and lifestyle necessity for healthier communities.
Mission: Wear out poverty one shoe at a time
Vision: To become every community’s influence in poverty awareness through voice and contribution and to become the primary source of footwear donation. We strive to ensure that all indigents in third-world countries can walk forward without the fear of the absence of basic necessities.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
After several trips to the Philippines growing up, Michael understood the societal differences between the United States and the country that holds his roots. Looking out the car window while passing by certain parts of Metro Manila, he visualised the indescribable hardships many face. He learned that life in the Philippines can be a lot more difficult for a larger population compared to the more privileged country he grew up in.
One day, he was cleaning their garage, when he realized he had an abundance of spare shoes before his next trip to the Philippines; he decided it would be a good idea to donate them to those who might need them more.
Michael believes one of the greatest attributes he has is to see the world change into a better place under “his” hands. In 2011, his vehicle for change was to create a nonprofit organization, Protect A Sole, at the age of 15.
During his freshman year of High School, he invested a lot of time forming a team of board members in order to collect a greater amount of shoes from local to international communities. It started with their own 10 pairs of shoes, to donating 150 pairs of shoes during their first official distribution in 2012. Throughout the years, the team has been the face of a community-wide impact, participating with families, friends, schools, community events, other nonprofits and the local government.
MEET THE TEAM
As of 2017, Protect A Sole has donated more than 1,700 pairs of footwear and counting. The PAS team and Michael have come a long way, and the organization would not be where it is without the members and the community.
Meet the wonderful PAS team.
“Our benevolence has made us volunteer as tributes to change this world passionately one shoe at a time. And we have fun doing it.”
Advisory Board: Rachel Rizal
Regional Director, Philippines: Paolo Aquino
President: Michael Rizal
Secretary: Vander Ferrer
Chief Operations Officer/Creative Director: Brandon Sun
Chief Strategy Officer: Kennard Kim
Publicity Commissioner: Abe Son
Chief Technology Officer: Kevin Wuang
*and we thank other volunteers who love joining the cause!*
HOW THE TEAM ACCOMPLISH THEIR MISSION VISION
The goal is to collect footwear and distribute them to the indigents in impoverished neighborhoods for the prevention of diseases and other harms. Protect A Sole accomplishes this goal by collecting as many footwear possible throughout the year.
New and used footwear (especially not to be worn anymore or will be thrown away) are gladly accepted as donations. After being washed, shoes are then personally given to chosen neighborhoods after permission from neighborhood officials to distribute the shoes by hand. Distribution occurs on a yearly basis. Protect A Sole also integrates itself in community activities with schools, clubs, churches and special events throughout the year. The latest activity includes educating preschool and kindergarten students about international impoverished lifestyles.
Their most accomplished feat was during the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan that hit the Philippines in 2013. PAS helped a local Goldilocks typhoon drive collect 38.5 tons (35,000 kg) of food, water, clothes, shoes, and toys. We also worked closely with the California City of Cerritos Mayor, Mark Pulido, to host a relief concert that featured classic Filipino artists like Society of Seven, Martin Nievera, and Nonoy Zuniga. Overall, Protect A Sole collected nearly 500 pairs of shoes overnight, while the concert raised $50,500 in funds to the American Red Cross fund for the Philippines.
PROTECT A SOLE 5-10 YEARS FROM NOW
Each of your donations lead us step by step to our success! Within 5 years, PAS hopes to hit our magic number of 5,000 pairs and hope to accumulate more pairs after that. A growing volume helps with our credibility to keep in touch with a wider community, and brings in potential to collaborate and work with larger partners, such as private companies and other larger organizations.
In the near future, PAS aims to collect more monetary donations aside from physical goods. They plan to consistently fundraise and purchase brand-new shoes for indigents and open more distribution opportunities in other third-world countries. Protect A Sole is also considering devoting to a charitable pursuit and turning the project into an officially licensed tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Most of all, Michael personally hopes Protect A Sole becomes the face for shoe charity to even more communities outside of Los Angeles, such as all of Southern California and Metro Manila. During times of disaster, PAS aims to be the primary response to communities for shoe donations. It is their mission to consistently spread awareness about the hardships people face in developing areas, implement our plan to help, and recognize change for love. It is nice to see smiles on many indigents’ faces and for them to feel thankful for the organization and the community’s efforts.
HOW TO JOIN AND VOLUNTEER
Yes, anyone can volunteer for their yearly donation distribution in Quezon City. Most distributions occur between the months June through August, and/or January. Those who would like to volunteer can contact them in advance to arrange a time to meet, discuss options, and volunteer (go ahead and shoot PAS a text or email!).
PAS also welcome international volunteers who want to experience community service in the Philippines, and welcome any local volunteers for our occasional shoe drives in Los Angeles. It’s a great and touching experience!
Make someone happy by donating your new or preloved shoes! Tell PAS how many pairs, send your donations and let us know it’s from you (a photo with your donations is highly appreciated).
- Contact PAS and arrange a donation drop-off location nearest you
- Send your shoes directly to PAS! Shipping options available upon contact (addresses will be provided when contacted).
- Scheduled meetups possible depending on location
For Philippine Donations:
- Contact us, and we can arrange possible drop-off locations, shipping options, or meetup options when Protect A Sole is present.
Shoe Donations Accepted: Any type of new or used footwear (Errand, Athletic, Casual, & Formal)
Examples: sneakers, athletic footwear, skate shoes, dress and leather shoes, boots, sandals and flip flops, slip-ons, platforms, heels, etc. You may donate as many as you want. We also accept missing pairs.
While PAS is not yet a 501(c)(3) non-profit, they still accept personal monetary donations. The funds will be used for logistical and organizational improvements, and the purchase of new shoes for our upcoming projects. Please contact PAS for further discussion about monetary donations.
Visit Protect a Sole Website here!
- Email for information, questions, donations, and more: email@example.com
- Michael’s personal email is firstname.lastname@example.org
- Give us a call or text (SMS, I-Message, Viber available): +1 714-232-9366
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Let’s support and give back in our own little and simple ways! A little gesture can make a big difference!
*** Thank you Michael and PAS for the photos***