Dick Pope/Polk County FPRA Chapter
Division A, Public Relations Programs;
#1 Community Relations

Style Your Sole Event

Research/Situation Analysis: The Dick Pope/Polk County (DP/PC) Community Involvement Committee of FPRA wanted to participate in a worthwhile community service project to make it count, the 2010 Chapter’s theme, by meeting the needs of homeless Polk County children. Three shelters were identified in Polk County that has the highest amount of children. 39 children at Salvation Army-Center of Hope, 37 children at Lighthouse Ministries, Inc. and 16 children at Lake Wales Care Center were in need of new shoes. “One of the biggest needs for the children at HALO/Center of Hope is shoes. Often we see children with shoes that don’t fit or aren’t appropriate for the weather. Many times I’ve seen children with blisters on all their toes due to shoes that don’t fit and/or no socks,” said Polk County Director of Salvation Army-Center of Hope. Most children in developing counties grow up barefoot and their primary mode of transportation is walking.

Objectives: DP/PC Chapter’s objective was to raise $4,048 to purchase 92 white canvas TOMS Shoes for all children in the three Polk County shelters: Lake Wales Care Center, Lighthouse Ministries, Inc. and Salvation Army-Center of Hope. TOMS Shoes donates a pair of shoes for every pair purchased, allowing DP/PC Chapter to make it count locally and globally. Our second objective was to host a Style Your Sole Event on February 17 at the three shelters to increase an awareness of the basic needs of children, shoes both locally and internationally, to the DP/PC Chapter members, community of Polk County and surrounding areas by media impressions.

Implementation: The planning for the event began immediately once it was discovered that Blake Mycoskie, Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS Shoes, was to be at Polk County’s Florida Southern College on February 17. The Community Involvement Chair and Vice President of DP/PC quickly scheduled a meeting with Florida Southern College to arrange to have Blake attend at least two of the shelters as children “style their soles.” 500 sponsorship letters were sent out to local businesses, non-profit organizations and churches. On Monday, January 4, 2010 News Chief, a circulation newspaper in Polk County of approximately 9,817 copies, published an article on the DP/PC Chapter providing shoes to needy children. On Sunday, January 10, 2010 The Ledger, the largest daily circulation newspaper of approximately 47,872 copies in Polk County, published a Good Cause photo with Lighthouse Ministries children, DP/PC Community Involvement Chair and Vice President holding white canvas TOMS Shoes to help promote the Style Your Sole Event and ask for sponsorships. On Tuesday, January 12, 2010 and Wednesday, January 13, 2010 The Ledger published an article explaining the DP/PC community service project to buy TOMS Shoes for children in Polk County. The DP/PC FPRA website’s Community Service page was updated with information, sponsorship levels, Good Cause photo, articles, and photos and media outlet of post production work. Professional members of the DP/PC Chapter and members from both student chapters signed up to help homeless children paint their new white canvas TOMS Shoes into masterpieces at the Style Your Sole Event on February 17.

Evaluation: The DP/PC Chapter exceeded their goal by a huge margin- with 26 sponsorships, over $5,650 was raised to purchase 13 pairs of infant shoes and 145 pairs of TOMS Shoes which allowed TOMS Shoes to donate 145 pairs of shoes to other children in need for a total of 303 pairs! Blake Mycoskie, Lakeland Mayor, Lakeland City Manager, Premier business sponsors, 80-plus student volunteers and 10 FPRA members attended the event. All art supplies were donated. The Style Your Sole Event received media coverage on Bay News 9 & FOX 13 (estimated media value of $11,160) The Ledger, News Chief, Polk County Democrat & Florida Southern News (estimated media value of $9,913) and radio stations WONN, WPCV, WLKF and WWRZ (estimated media value of $115) utilizing the following communication vehicles: exposure on the DP/PC FPRA website, 20 Twitter posts (total of 80 followers), 13 Facebook posts (total of 88 fans) and the electronic DP/PC FPRA newsletter distributed to members for a total media value of $21,188.

Budget: All income was generated by sponsorships with a total of $5,652.40; no income was used from the Chapter. Expenses were $5,494.11 to purchase 158 shoes, 66 shoes exceeding our goal, leaving a net income of $158.29 that was then donated to Woman’s Care Center, Bartow, FL shelter. Volunteers worked 235 hours raising funds to purchase shoes for all children in the three Polk County shelters and distributing them at the February 17 Style Your Sole Event increasing awareness of the basic needs of children, shoes both locally and internationally.