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NeighborhoodHeroes: Coachella Valley man collects and distributes socks and shoes for those in need

“It has two meanings, it’s the heal of the sole and the heal of the soul,” said Darren Smith, the founder of Heal Soles Shoe Ministry. 

Darren Smith works a typical 9-5 job with SunLine Transit Agency and operates his own pressure washing business. On top of that, he founded Heal Soles Shoe Ministry where he collects and distributes shoes, socks, and other items to those in need. “It’s not just strictly for the homeless, it’s for those in need. In this time too, it’s hard right now too. People are out of work and things like that, so if I’m able to even bless a family or a child and I’m able to, I have no problem doing that,” said Smith.

The idea for Heal Soles came about four years ago when he saw a young man walking without shoes in the summer heat. “I stopped and said hey I’ve got a pair of flip flops. Would you like them? And I gave them to him and to see the look on this mans face, that’s when I knew there was a bigger calling for me,” said Smith. This calling has helped Smith give out over 400 pairs of shoes to date.

He says he will keep a few pairs of shoes and socks in his car and if he sees someone who might be in need, he will pull over. “Even if they have shoes, if I can help them or we can help them with something better,” said Smith. 

During the wintertime, he will also collect and hand out things like hats, gloves, and blankets. 

He is always looking for item donations. He said especially gently worn tennis shoes. “I have no problem going to pick up whatever they have,” said Smith.

He said the most rewarding part of doing this work is to be able to put a smile on the person’s face for that one particular moment. “Just being able to see that person smile or really be grateful, you know,” said Smith. “The biggest reward I want to get out of this is helping those in need come to know God. Healing Soles with Healing Souls,” added Smith. 

To help donate in any capacity, you can reach out to Darren Smith on Facebook, Heal Soles Shoe Ministry. You can also visit Second Baptist Indio or email

Celebrating #NeighborhoodHeroes

While the coronavirus crisis is keeping us apart, we know the Coachella Valley community is still coming together to help each other. We are looking for those who are lending a hand during this uncertain time. Do you know of any everyday people who are going out of their way to help others? Have you seen someone find creative solutions to the new challenges we all face?

News Channel 3 wants to celebrate these neighborhood heroes. Tell us about them here. Enter HERE or email or If you see good happening on social media, share it with us, and tag it #neighborhoodheroes for us to see.

We are all in this together. Help us showcase the good that's happening right here in the Coachella Valley.

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Taban Sharifi

Taban Sharifi is a Meteorologist and Reporter with KESQ News Channel 3, The Desert’s News & Weather Leader. Learn more about Taban here.


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