Cal's Joanne Boyle to Shed Shoes vs. UCLA for Haiti Relief

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 'Bear Foot for Bare Feet' 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 needlessly 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.

'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,' Boyle said. '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 needlessly from foot-borne diseases and infections due to a lack of 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.

Interested Media

Additional information is available by contacting Cal Assistant Media Relations Director Dean Caparaz at 510-642-5048 or dcaparaz@berkeley.edu. 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 tmelloh@samaritansfeet.org.

Confirmed Coaches

Over 1,000 coaches at every level have planned or are planning to coach a game in their bare feet. The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) has endorsed Samaritan's Feet and its quest to get every basketball coach in America to coach a game in their bare feet. Coaches involved include the following:
• Butler coach Brad Stevens, Indiana State's Kevin McKenna, South Dakota State's Scott Nagy, UMKC's Matt Brown, former UNC-Wilmington coach Benny Moss and many more.
• Four hundred youth coaches from Indianapolis, Charlotte and New York have or will be coaching barefoot.

About Samaritan's Feet

There are over 300 million children who go without shoes every day, and walking is their only mode of transportation. That's why Samaritan's Feet was started.

Samaritan's Feet is a humanitarian relief organization that puts shoes on the feet of children all around the world. The goal is to provide 10 million pairs of shoes for 10 million impoverished people in 10 years. To date, over two million pairs of shoes for children around the world have been distributed.

Samaritan's Feet President and Founder Manny Ohonme, who received his first pair of shoes at the age of 9 from a missionary, created the organization in 2003. He started playing basketball and other sports with his new pair of shoes, eventually earning a spot on a traveling basketball team and his high school team. Upon graduating high school, he was offered a scholarship to play basketball at University of North Dakota (Lake Region), at which he received his bachelor's and master's degrees.

Manny spent 10 years in the marketing and logistics business before he started Samaritan's Feet to help children by taking the hope he gained from being given a pair of shoes and pay it forward.

Samaritan's Feet, based in Charlotte, N.C., is a humanitarian non-profit relief organization dedicated to taking a life-changing message of hope and equipping the feet of impoverished children in the United State and around the world with shoes. The focus is on children from Africa, South America, the Caribbean and the United States.

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