The back door to the diesel truck slams shut. Inside, more than 18,000 pairs of shoes and 18,000 pairs of socks are boxed and ready to be shipped to the Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid for sorting and distribution around the world through Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls.
The shoe drive with 88.9 Moody Radio in Chattanooga, Tenn., is the largest shoe drive involved with Shoes for Orphan Souls, donating more than 250,000 pairs of shoes in the 18 years they have partnered with Buckner.
“The partnership between 88.9 Moody Radio in Chattanooga and Buckner International is really cool as it offers an opportunity to work among churches, businesses and ministries all for one cause – that’s to share and live out the gospel through something as simple as a pair of shoes,” said Brent Manion, station manger for 88.9 Moody Radio.
Collecting that many pairs of shoes is a large undertaking, involving more than 175 organizations, businesses, churches and individuals throughout the Tennessee Valley. For weeks, Moody Radio promoted the shoe drive over the air, encouraging their listeners to donate shoes at one of the many drop off locations around the city or to form their own drop off with their church, business or organization. The results were staggering.
“We are so grateful for our partnership with 88.9 Moody Radio,” said Shawn Spurrier, assistant director for Shoes for Orphan Souls. “We know how important every pair of shoes is and to see a community come together like they have here in the Tennessee Valley and collect such a staggering amount of shoes, it really speaks to the heart and compassion they have for vulnerable children all over the world.”
The last day of the drive, volunteers flooded the station to unload cars, trucks and busses bringing the shoes collected, some even coming from neighboring states in Alabama and Georgia. Shoes were sorted, stuffed with a note of encouragement, counted, packed in boxes and loaded onto the truck.
The drop off day was a humid summer day, but it didn’t hinder the speed and efficiency of unloading and packing shoes. The joy was visible. Every volunteer was smiling and laughing.
“You never think about the importance a pair of shoes can make,” said Linda Morgan. She has been volunteering on drop off day for the Moody Radio shoe drive for the last three years. “We take so much for granted here and a pair of shoes means so much to a child for their health and happiness. I’m so grateful to be here and to help out.”