Sole Stop kicks off the holiday season with Saturday shoe drive at the Children's Museum

Sole Stop shoe 'stores' pop up alongside Lava Mae's services | Photos courtesy of Sole Stop
By Carrie Sisto - Published on November 27, 2019.

A local non-profit striving to match San Francisco’s unhoused neighbors with a good pair of shoes is seeking community donations at a family-friendly holiday event this weekend.

Sole Stop was founded last December by Haley Myer, who was born and raised in the lower Haight and is a “real sneaker head,” according to Sole Stop operations manager Yves-Langston Barthaud. 

Sole Stop founder Haley Myer

Myer wanted to use her passion for shoes for good by starting an organization to redistribute underused shoes to those in need, Barthaud told us. 

Barthaud met Myer and Sole Stop’s other operations manager, Elizabeth De Nola, working as interns for former District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim. The three San Francisco natives were all born in 1983 and have strong community ties.

Barthaud and De Nola helped launch It’s Your District as a way to connect students with Tenderloin-area nonprofit organizations in need of smart workers. It's Your District now helps recruit interns for more than 100 organizations across the city.

Barthaud, who is executive director of It’s Your District, said it is serving as Sole Stop’s fiscal sponsor during this early start-up phase, as it works to become its own organizational entity.

Sole Stop launched in December 2018, and has since partnered multiple times with Lava Mae to distribute donated shoes to visitors of its Pop Up Care Villages. Lava Mae supports mobile showers and toilets on wheels at regular locations across the Bay Area as well as Los Angeles. Its Pop Up Care Villages recruit other nonprofits to offer a variety of services in one location so nearby homeless communities can access them all at once.

Barthaud at a Sole Stop 'store' offering free shoes during a Lava Mae Pop Up Care Village 

Sole Stop has offered shoe “stores” at bi-monthly Pop Up Care Villages over the past year, and at each event has handed out between 350 and 400 pairs of shoes for free, according to Barthaud.

Most of the shoes are new or lightly used donations from individuals, but Sole Stop also offers a “shoe drive kit” for anyone that wants to host a collection effort at their work, school, or other community. The tool kit includes signs and information about the organization that can be distributed to encourage others to bring in shoes. At least four different San Francisco-based companies have said they’re hosting drives to collect shoes for Sole Stop over the holidays, Barthaud said. 

Volunteers help match unhoused neighbors with a new pair of shoes during a Pop Up Care Village 

To kick off the holiday season, Sole Stop is partnering with the Children’s Creativity Museum to host a shoe drive during the museum’s Holiday Carousel Event on Saturday, November 30. Along with the shoe drive, activities will include refreshments, face painting, and free carousel rides, all from 4-7 p.m.

Other than shoes, Sole Stop is always seeking new sock donations. Socks are actually more frequently requested than shoes, Barthaud said. You can learn more about Sole Stop’s work on its website, and sign up to volunteer at one of the Pop Up Care Villages or other shoe distribution events. 

About 9 hours ago
San Francisco SoMa

30-bed drug sobering center proposed for Howard Street office building

SF Mayor London Breed on Tuesday announced a proposal to lease an empty office building at 1076 Howard Street for use as a 30-bed drug sobering center, making good on a promise first made before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The facility will focus on those living on the streets who are experiencing methamphetamine-induced psychosis. Read More

About 9 hours ago
San Francisco Castro Duboce Triangle

2100 Market Street, formerly Home, Church Street Station, and The Truck Stop, makes appearance in 'Doodler' podcast

The one-story, flatiron-shaped building that once lived at 2100 Market was home to multiple businesses over several decades. One of its brief incarnations in the 1970s, a 24-hour diner called The Truck Stop, figures into the unsolved case of "The Doodler," a serial killer who preyed on gay men in San Francisco, and about whom Chronicle reporter Kevin Fagan has just done a new podcast. Read More

Apr 09, 2021
San Francisco Mission Bay

New Belgium Brewing opens first company flagship restaurant and taproom in Mission Bay

Sandwiched between Oracle Park and the Chase Center, New Belgium Brewing — one of the largest craft brewers in the country — officially opened its first company-owned and operated taproom and eatery, New Belgium, at 1000a 3rd Street in San Francisco on Friday.  Read More

Apr 09, 2021
San Francisco Castro Duboce Triangle

Team with Saison ties set to open Mexican restaurant Comodo in the Castro

Hoodline has learned that two people who are part of the restaurant group behind two-Michelin-starred Saison are set to open a new Mexican restaurant at 2223 Market St., formerly Nomica and before that neighborhood favorite 2223 Restaurant. Read More