Feb. 2, 2010
BERKELEY - California women's basketball head coach Joanne Boyle and her staff will coach in their bare feet on Saturday, Feb. 6 against UCLA in Haas Pavilion as part of the "Bearfoot for Barefeet" Coaches Initiative to raise awareness and money to purchase shoes for the impoverished children affected by the recent earthquake in Haiti. UCLA's staff, led by head coach Nikki Caldwell, will also coach without shoes in Saturday's 2 p.m. game to aid Haiti's children, who suffer from foot-borne diseases and infections due to a lack of shoes.
During the game, Cal's public-address announcer will encourage fans to donate money towards the cause. Samaritan's Feet, the humanitarian relief organization that created the initiative, will purchase and ship the shoes directly to Haiti.
Fans attending the game can text the word "SHOES" to 85944, and $5 will be added to their next month's bill. In addition, members of Cal's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) as well as other Cal student-athletes will be present to collect money from fans who wish to donate. The Bears, wearing Cal apparel and also in their bare feet, will be stationed at the entrances to the Haas bowl on the first and second levels collecting contributions before the game through the end of the first quarter. Also, four Cal student-athletes collecting donations for the "Bear Feet" Initiative will be stationed at a table near Sections 4 and 5 in the Haas Pavilion lobby for the duration of the game.
For those who cannot attend the game or text a donation but would still like to contribute, you may write a check payable to General Donation, with Cal vs. UCLA in the check's subject line, and mail it to
P.O. Box 78992
Charlotte, NC 28271
"My coaching staff and I are proud to be able to partner with Samaritan's Feet and help the children affected by the terrible earthquake in Haiti," said Boyle, whose team saw the needs of poverty-stricken children firsthand when she brought the Bears to Africa in the summer of 2008. "I've always expressed to my players how important it is to give back and help those less fortunate. I'm glad we can participate in this event to raise both money and awareness. I'd like to thank SAAC for making this possible, and I'd also like to thank Nikki Caldwell and her coaching staff at UCLA for participating in this fundraiser on Saturday."
The coaching initiative was called "Barefoot for Barefeet" when it was conceived by Manny Ohonme, the Samaritan's Feet president and founder, in 2007.
"We are extremely pleased that Coach Joanne Boyle has embraced our call to shed her shoes and coach a game in her bare feet," Ohonme said. "Coach Boyle has agreed to use her platform to provide a voice for those children in Haiti who lack a pair of shoes after the devastation there. Hers and the other coaches' involvement have moved the overall Barefoot for Barefeet Initiative to a new level in our ongoing mission to reach the world's neediest children with the gift of shoes."
The coaching initiative began in November 2007 when Samaritan's Feet asked IUPUI men's basketball coach Ron Hunter to coach a game in his bare feet to raise awareness for the plight of 300 million impoverished children world wide who suffer without shoes.
Hunter embraced the goal of 40,000 pairs of shoes that he wanted donated by Jan. 24. In less than six weeks, Hunter and Samaritan's Feet had raised over 140,000 pairs of shoes and over $30,000. Over 439 media outlets covered the story before and after he coached the game, including ABC World News Tonight, CNN, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Los Angeles Times and many more. He also personally delivered the shoes with his team to Lima, Peru in August 2008.
Coaches around the country have joined Hunter by going barefoot during a game and using the public stage as coaches to help Samaritan's Feet reach the goal of distributing 10 million pairs of shoes to 10 million people in 10 years.
Additional information is available by contacting Cal Assistant Media Relations Director Dean Caparaz at 510-642-5048 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For further details on the mission and goals of Samaritan's Feet, please contact Samaritan's Feet Marketing Director Todd Melloh at 317-417-3525 or email@example.com or please visit the organization's Web site, SamaritansFeet.org.