October 25, 2010

‘Sneaker Ball’ will collect donations of shoes

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The inaugural Sneaker Ball: Soles4Souls Charity Gala is coming to Southern Illinois University Carbondale on Friday, Oct. 29.

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. is sponsoring the event, which the group describes as a black tie benefit gala with a youthful flair. The evening filled with special entertainment is from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Newman Catholic Center. It’s a chance for SIUC students and the community to gather to help others.

Those attending will enjoy rhythm and blues and soul music from the Smitty Pits band from Minneapolis along with K_Love, the Chicago poet, according to William A. Brown, president of the Delta Tau Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma. Vanity Fashion Fair Models, a campus Registered Student Organization, will be participating and Brandon Williams, an SIUC alumnus, author, producer and rapper with the stage name of Re@l Talk, will host the event. The preference is for formal attire.

Brown said he and others have rented tuxedos and patent leather sneakers to wear that evening -- most appropriate for a “sneaker ball” where organizers are collecting donations of new or gently used shoes. The shoes will go to Soles4Soules Inc., a national, non-profit organization that collects shoes and distributes them to people in need living in more than 126 countries including Kenya, Thailand, Nepal and the United States. The fraternity will accept monetary donations as well for Soles4Souls, but the preferred donation is of good, gently used or new shoes.

There will be refreshments as well at the Sneaker Ball. Admission to the event is free but tickets for the meal are $5 and available at the door. Students, faculty, staff and community members are welcome to attend, Brown said.

“This event is an opportunity for people to come together and donate gently worn shoes to aid children in poverty stricken countries like Haiti and Honduras. One of the principles of our fraternity is service and the black tie gala itself is a chance to serve others and let people have a great time,” Brown said.

Phi Beta Sigma is also collecting shoes this week in the Faner Hall breezeway. Members will have a collection table there from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. They’ve placed collection boxes at Carbondale Middle School and Hopewell Baptist Church in Carbondale as well, Brown said.

For more information about what organizers say will be the first annual Sneaker Ball, e-mail d1967t@gmail.com or call Brown at 708/574-1396.