Activism | December 10th, 2023

Save the Sole: Community Service Project

By: Nina Shortt
Save the Sole: Community Service Project

Walking in sincerity, “Save the Sole” is a two-year community service project founded by Takyra Johnson and Nadia Buggs, both fourth-year students at Florida A&M University, aiming to aid individuals facing disadvantages by providing wearable shoes.

Through consistent service with the goal of preserving footwear, they aspire to revive both the sole of the shoe and the soul within those in need.

As freshman roommates, Johnson and Buggs realized they had more in common than just their Christian faith. Motivated by their faith and love of service, they discovered a common interest and a natural desire to help people in the community.

Buggs says the idea came to them after seeing a man walking on the streets of Tallahassee without shoes, which raised their concerns.

“Takyra is a really big sneaker-head, so she was really set on [providing] shoes. Some people walk around with beat-up footwear, and we wanted to give back, knowing we have the resources to do so,” Buggs said.

After deciding to focus on shoe donations, the journey of “Save the Sole” began. Spreading their cause through social media and holding collection boxes at a FAMU dorm, Polkinghorne Village, attracted attention and support. Community partnerships were formed with Reach One Youth Organization, ALARM International Church, and Mission Possible Enrichment Center. They donated all the shoes to these partnerships and learned how fulfilling it feels to make an effort to help people.

“It reminds me always to put others before yourself because I know a lot of times, especially at this stage in our lives, we have to put ourselves first. But it’s important to take time to give back to other people and serve,” Johnson said.

As time goes on, their project continues to grow with more hands on board. In October they hosted an event at Jack McLean Park, with 19 student-led organizations joining them in to support people.

On their social media, @savethesole_, they gathered over 100 reposts and posts of their latest event, “Kickin It.” Over time, their project has gained a lot of love and support from the Tallahassee community. Nineteen student-led organizations stepped up to be a part of a cause bigger than themselves.

Buggs says she feels connected and grateful while learning the importance of staying grounded.

“I’ve learned that it takes a lot of time and thought to do something like this, especially at the scale we are aiming for, and it’s taught me to be humble. Stay humble, stay true to yourself, don’t let your head get too big,” Buggs said.

The duo hopes that their project will grow on a larger scale, continue after college, and expand to other resources people may not be able to access. Their genuine commitment is the sole reason they aspire to go beyond Tallahassee and help more people. Coming from a place of love, they are determined to live by serving others before always serving themselves.