A good ‘sole’: Scott Sowle provides footwear for the homeless

·Good News Writer

Scott Sowle is known as "Shoe Guy" on the streets of Seattle. Formerly homeless himself, Sowle is passionate about providing footwear for the homeless.

"Just imagine being on your feet 12 hours a day, constantly moving, standing in line for food, standing in line for this," he told KOMO News of his ability to identify with the sore feet, cold toes and search for good shoes.

At one point, he told a caseworker from a homeless service provider that he needed new boots for a job. She tearfully told him something he never forget: proper footwear was rarely donated.

After spending 13 years on the street, Sowle was determined to give back. In 2010, he started collecting donated shoes, cleaning and disinfecting them and delivering them to homeless shelters and food banks.

"I took for so many years when I was on the street. I just...always took. I was taking from services that were given to me, and I wasn't able to give back," he said. "Today, I can give back. And that's huge of me."

"It's like a gift from God," one shoe recipient told KOMO News. "He'll come up to you and he'll bless you with a pair of shoes."

In 2011, his mission inspired a group of like-minded supporters to form Redeeming Soles, a nonprofit organization "committed to providing proper footwear to organizations serving the homeless and underprivileged throughout the Puget Sound area."

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