In August 2012, country music singer Billy Gilman, age 24, handed out free shoes in children in Jacksonville, Florida. Mr. Gilman said, “The kids looked like they had won the lottery. You ask them for their size, you wash and dry their feet and then you put on their new pair of shoes. If you’ve never experienced it, you just have no idea. It’s amazing how a bond can be created by supplying a pair of shoes.” The shoes came from the Nashville, Tennessee-based non-profit Soles4Souls, which gives children new or gently used shoes. Mr. Gilman and many other country artists had worked together on the charity single “The Choice” as a fundraiser for Soles4Souls. Mr. Gilman said about the single, “Each purchase equals one pair of shoes. I tell people it is so simple. You just click on download and it’s like you were handing Soles4Souls the money.” Mr. Gilman co-wrote “The Choice” with Philip Douglas and Dan Murph. Appearing on the single are Rodney Atkins, Montgomery Gentry, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Steve Holy, Alan Jackson, Wynonna Judd, Richie McDonald of Lonestar, Reba McEntire, Ronnie Milsap, Craig Morgan, Kellie Pickler, LeAnn Rimes, Diamond Rio, Kenny Rogers, Randy Travis, Josh Turner, and Keith Urban. Mr. Gilman said, “The cool thing about Nashville is country music always knows how to pay it forward.”
For More Information: Vernell Hackett, “Country singer Gilman donates first shoes from charity single.” Reuters. 10 August 2012 <http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/08/10/entertainment-us-billygilman-idINBRE87902M20120810>.