When U.S. Rep. Beth Van Duyne visited Ventana by Buckner in July, she helped prepare backpacks and new shoes for children heading back to school. Ventana offers senior living in Dallas, Texas, and is located in the congressional district Van Duyne serves.
That act of generosity inspired Ventana Members to ask for more ways to serve vulnerable children and families within Buckner ministries. Instead of the shoes coming to them, this time they went to the shoes. The seniors volunteered at the Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid in Dallas in September.
Members spent the afternoon sorting pairs of shoes and stuffing them with notes of encouragement and words of God’s love.
Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls® distributes these shoes to vulnerable children across the world, but many don’t realize how high the need is in the U.S. More than 20% of shoes collected are distributed in local communities.
Volunteering offers a host of benefits for seniors
For Ventana Members, taking time to volunteer is a priority for them – whether from the comfort of their home or taking it on the road.
“This is our first outing of this type,” said Holly Yates, director of lifestyle services at Ventana. “But members have been involved in volunteering with Buckner through Pajamas for Seniors and by providing supplies to families in the Buckner Family Hope Center® or Buckner Family Pathways® programs.”
Volunteering is also a great way to engage seniors. Hobbies can benefit seniors through social connection, physical activity, stimulating the brain and even boost their self-esteem with a sense of purpose and achievement.
“Many members have supported Buckner throughout the years and love taking the opportunities to do something to help further our mission,” Yates added.
Seeing the bigger picture: It’s not just sorting shoes
Frann Davis lives at Ventana and has not only sorted shoes but has also traveled abroad with Buckner several times to deliver those shoes to children in need.
“I love Buckner and I love the work Buckner does,” Davis recalled. “I went to Russia, South Texas and several times to Guatemala. Seeing the kids’ faces when they receive these shoes is truly amazing.”
One person, especially when joined by others, can make a difference.
“Your sense of purpose is affirmed when you give your time to serve others,” Yates added. “Volunteering serves as a reminder of the many blessings God bestows on us and what a blessing a new pair of shoes will be to these children.”