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St. Andrew's Church launches shoe drive

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church of Cloquet announces it is joining Episcopal churches across the state in launching a statewide shoe collection program - the largest of its kind in Minnesota history.

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church of Cloquet announces it is joining Episcopal churches across the state in launching a statewide shoe collection program - the largest of its kind in Minnesota history.

The shoe drive is in partnership with Soles4Souls, an international charity dedicated to providing free footwear to those in desperate need.

The goal is to collect shoes of all types and sizes, new and gently used, at 150 Episcopal churches and organizations throughout Minnesota. The drive began Sept. 14 and will extend through to the Diocesan Convention, which will be held Oct. 24 in Rochester, Minn.

At that convention, the thousands of shoes will be blessed during a special ceremony dedicated to celebrating the work of the church. The service will be keynoted by acclaimed speaker and biographer for Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Rev. Canon Michael Battle.

The shoe drive is part of the Episcopal church's support for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The eight MDGs - which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 - form a blueprint agreed to by all the world's countries and all the world's leading development institutions. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world's poorest. The MDGs are the number one mission priority of the Episcopal Church.

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St. Andrew's is located at 204 Eighth Street in Cloquet. Worship service and Sunday School begins at 10 a.m. each Sunday.

Nashville-based Soles4Souls facilitates the donations of both new and used shoes, which are used to aid the hurting worldwide. Since its inception, Soles4Souls has distributed more than 3.3 million pairs (or one pair every 23 seconds) to people in more than 60 countries, including Honduras, Romania, Thailand, and the Sudan. The charity has been featured on CNN Headline News, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, ABC News, FOX, CBS, and hundreds of regional outlets around North America.

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