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Shoe Charity Operator Loses Apartment In Fire

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Share Your Soles Foundation

(Credit: Share Your Soles Foundation)

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WORTH, Ill. (CBS) — The woman from suburban Worth known as “the Shoe Lady” has her shoes, but not much else — following a fire that burned the apartment building in which she lived.

But as WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports, the tragic fire won’t affect the operations of Mona Purdy’s charity, the Share Your Soles Foundation.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports

Purdy says she is fortunate just to be alive. She was absorbed in a TV rerun when she noticed flickering in the living room, although no lights were on.

She got out of bed to find the back of her couch on fire.

As she left, Purdy tried to rescue a painting from the blaze, only to escape with her eyebrows and hair singed. The painting didn’t make it.

“I got no shoes, no socks, so I run outside with, like, this nightgown, outside screaming, ‘Call my daughter!’… because I didn’t have my phone, so someone brought me a pair of socks, and I was like, ‘Where is Mona Purdy when you need her with a truck full of shoes?’” Purdy said.

Purdy’s charity donates shoes to those in need around the world. It began when she visited Central America in 1999 and found children painting tar on the soles of their bare feet in lieu of shoes so they could race in a village festival.

Purdy says now, she can identify with many of those whom she helps.

The shoes are safe at a separate warehouse, and Purdy is still planning to go to Haiti soon.

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