The 5 millionth pair of new shoes was recently distributed through Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls®. The milestone was celebrated in Oaxaca, Mexico, as the shoes were presented to 8-year-old Rodrigo Correon Martinez during a larger distribution for local children.
Rodrigo and his family live in the Xoxocotlán colonia in the outskirts of Oaxaca City, located in central Mexico. Since 2020, more than 60% of residents of Oaxaca live in moderate to extreme poverty.
As is the case with many families, the new shoes Rodrigo and his brother received several years ago were the first step for their parents to access additional services through the Buckner Family Hope Center®, a program that strengthens families in the community.
Buckner staff in Mexico describe Rodrigo as a respectful child who loves to learn and seeks to bring cheer to everyone he encounters. This year, he’ll start the school year with a brand-new pair of shoes.
A new pair of shoes creates opportunity for children and families in vulnerable communities
Approximately 150 children and their families gathered in the courtyard of the Family Hope Center in Xoxocotlán for the shoe distribution. Buckner staff and volunteers ceremonially cleansed the children’s feet before placing a new pair of shoes, selected specifically for each child, on them. A total of 270 pairs of shoes were distributed throughout the week in Mexico.
“We’ve reached an amazing milestone,” shared Shawn Spurrier, director of Buckner Shoes. “For many of us, the importance of new shoes is an afterthought, but they can be the catalyst to transformation in the lives of children.”
“Shoes help kids attend school, protect against disease and injury and give them hope,” he continued. “This pair represents 5 million opportunities to express to children throughout the world they are loved, cared for and not forgotten.”
The power of community drives provides lasting impact and hope
Beginning in 1999, Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls held its first community shoe drives in Dallas. Since then, shoe drives have expanded across the country being held in Tennessee to Missouri and more. Collected shoes are then distributed domestically and in over 86 countries around the globe to children living in poverty.
Individuals, organizations, and churches have helped collect millions of shoes for children served by Buckner. The 5 millionth pair of shoes was collected in one of these many community shoe drives.
“This pair also represents the hard work put in by tens of thousands of donors, volunteers, community organizers and Buckner staff throughout the years,” Spurrier said. “We can only thank all of them for their efforts.”
Looking toward the future
All shoes collected are brought to the Buckner Humanitarian Aid Center in Dallas and are then shipped out to children living in vulnerable communities where Buckner offers a variety of holistic services.
“But we’re not done yet,” Spurrier continued. “The work toward the next 5 millionth pair starts now.”