A Westport lawyer has collected more than 500 shoes for Soles for Souls, a Tennessee-based organization that distributes shoes to people in need throughout the world,

Ken Bernhard, a lawyer with Cohen & Wolf, began gathering the shoes several weeks ago by placing drop-off boxes at town halls in Westport, Weston, Wilton and Fairfield and at Cohen and Wolf's law offices in Westport and Bridgeport.

The Westport Sunrise Rotary Club also set up collection centers in local churches to add to the collection of more than 500 shoes, said Bernhard, who launched the effort a few months ago after seeing a segment on the agency by Katie Couric on "CBS Evening News."

Bernhard made several trips bringing the shoes -- some new, some used -- to his house in Westport to mail to Soles For Souls' closest collection point in Edison, N.J.

Given the volume of shoes, Bernhard said he plans to deliver the shoes to the collection point -- instead of mailing them -- with his friend, Ron Caruso of Weston.

"Our community has responded overwhelmingly to a demonstrative need and the community can be proud of this response," Bernhard said.

For information on Soles for Souls, visit www.soles