Community service simply runs in the DNA of Lora Hobbs, Senior Instructor within the Religious Studies Department. While involved in several local initiatives, its Lora’s passion to assist on a global scale which led to the development of one particular project whose impact is felt both locally and internationally.
In 1987, Lora began co-leading groups to Haiti and since 1996 has organized and led annual volunteer teams to bring education, medical care and construction efforts to the children and people of northern Haiti. Whether by chance or destiny, Lora met a fellow Springfieldian providing food relief during a 2010 Haiti earthquake disaster relief trip. From that chance meeting, Lora founded the Sole Food project which turns unwanted, donated shoes into funds that assist with pre-packaged meals for the hungry, the installation of water filtration systems and provides needed footwear for those in Central America and Africa.
Since August 2010 the Sole Food project has coordinated with nearly 200 organizations, businesses and schools to collect over 127,000 pounds of shoes. This has provided shoes to over 120,000 people in developing countries and funded 325,334 packaged meals to undernourished people in the U.S. and around the world distributed through Friends Against Hunger.
Lora states that one of the most amazing, heart-breaking and hope-building projects she’s ever been a part of was leading a group of physical and occupational therapists to Tanzania. They shipped a transport container of personal mobility equipment and custom fitted over 200 Tanzanian adults and children with severe disabilities.
For her dedication and leadership in seeking solutions to important cultural, health and economic development issues both locally and globally, we recognize Lora Hobbs with the 2015 Faculty Excellence in Community Service Award.