News | January 11, 2016


Sale family, Laces of Love collect shoes for kids

3 - minute read

Former FGCU baseball standout and current Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale and his wife, Brianne, have teamed up with local charity Laces of Love for the second year to collect new shoes for children in need. They are encouraging fans to bring donations to the basketball doubleheader  at 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16 at Alico Arena.

New shoes – in particular sneakers – are needed in boys and girls sizes 1-8 and will go to low-income and disadvantaged children in Lee and Collier counties. Cash donations also are welcome.

Donation boxes will be placed in the Alico Arena lobby for the 4 p.m. women’s tipoff on Saturday, and will remain through the men’s game, which gets under way at 7 p.m. Fans unable to attend those games who would like to donate to Laces of Love can visit its website or call 239-591-1172.

Sale, who led the American League in strikeouts this past year en route to a fourth-straight All-Star selection, will attend Saturday.

Last year, fans donated 850 pairs of new shoes and approximately $2,000, and organizers hope to surpass those numbers this year.

“Brianne and I are so excited to give back to our local community through Laces of Love, and we’re also grateful for FGCU Athletics providing us a platform to help others,” said Sale. “(Laces of Love President and Co-Founder) Jeanne Nealon’s passion for these children is so contagious it made us want to be involved. We are looking forward to this event again and topping the great results we had last year, and are happy to be able to make any kind of positive impact on these children that we can.”

In 2015 alone, 10,000 children in Lee and Collier public schools received new shoes from Laces of Love, bringing the total to almost 85,000 shoes since the charity’s inception in 2005. Laces of Love also provides athletic footwear to children who want to participate in sports but don’t have the appropriate footwear.

Brianne Sale, who also attended FGCU and has fulfilled her course requirements for graduation, said she and her husband were surprised to learn that more than 60 percent of Collier County public school students are considered economically needy.

“Our goal is to also raise awareness for those in need and to continue making an impact in these children’s lives in years to come,” she said.

“We are so excited to have Chris and Brianne support our mission to help needy kids again this year,” Nealon said. “It is great to have FGCU support a local charity to help so many kids in Southwest Florida. A new pair of shoes makes such a difference in a child’s life, and we’re looking to surpass the results of last year.”

Laces of Love relies solely on a volunteer staff and donations and works directly with school nurses, teachers and staff to help identify children in need and ensure they receive the proper-sized footwear.

“We look forward to witnessing our Green and Blue backers supporting this terrific initiative again this year after a tremendous amount of donations last January,” said FGCU Director of Athletics Ken Kavanagh. “We are honored to have the opportunity to even play a small part with such a wonderful cause. What Jeanne and her group of volunteers have built is such a heartwarming story, and it is nice to see Brianne and Chris as active members of this fantastic Southwest Florida philanthropy.”

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