Lexington brothers using shoes to pay it forward

Most of us don't think twice about having shoes to put on, but in reality there are millions worldwide who go without shoes everyday.

When two young Lexington brothers learned that not having shoes was a reality for some people they stepped up to make a difference.

WKYT's Amber Philpott has more on how the youngsters are trying to change the world one shoe at a time.

Josh and Jacob Griffin are like many brothers, competitive.

On the court its about who can out play the other in a pick up game, but off the court its about working together and making a difference.

Right now the boys are on a mission to collect 25,000 pairs of shoes for the global non profit Soles4Souls.

"It's a great charity that is really, really simple to donate to. Everybody has old shoes, everybody has shoes they don't wear anymore or are too small," said Josh Griffin.

The boys first learned of Soles4Souls after their father attended a concert and heard about the organization.

Josh and Jacob couldn't believe that 300 million children worldwide go without shoes.

In 2011 they stepped up to help, their first shoe drive netted more than a 1000 pairs of shoes and they gave up their fall break to drive to Nashville to deliver the shoes.

Two years later while on family vacation, the Griffins put their heads together and decided as a family to start AreUKind.org.

At 13, Josh is the president and 9-year-old Jacob is the vice president.

The mission is simple, to create planned acts of kindness that will trigger others to do the same.

"We are very fortunate to have what we have, not all people have the things they need to live, go to school and to survive. So if we can make a difference by providing them with those things then it will change lives," said Josh Griffin.

Are U Kind has become a family affair, Joe and Suzanne Griffin say they couldn't be happier with the work their sons are doing.

" They are normal kids, but they also are very willing to put others first before themselves which is something we are really proud of," said Joe Griffin, the boys father.

Weekly, the boys check their three big blue bins located around Lexington to collect shoes and then its off to sort them in a nearby warehouse.

Each time the boys empty the bins there is a sense of really making a difference.

"Well it really puts you in a happy mood to think about how you are giving shoes to people who don't have them and you are making them happy," said Jacob Griffin.

So far the donations are adding up one shoe at a time, proof that age doesn't matter when it comes to paying it forward.

" You can always help the world by just doing little simple things like pulling shoes out of your closet," said Jacob Griffin.

The Griffin brothers are already working on another Planned Act of Kindness, getting an aquarium built at the Kentucky Children's Hospital.

The Soles4Souls shoe drive is citywide in Lexington and you can donate from now until December 31 at any of the three Big Blue Bins located in Lexington.

Simpson Optical, 340 Meijer Way
Republic Bank, 2401 Harrodsburg Road
Columbia Steakhouse, 2750 Richmond Road

To date Soles4Souls has distributed more than 20 million pairs of shoes in 127 counties.

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