Birthday Wish Brings Blessings to Children Worldwide

It all started with an advertisement on the Disney channel one morning in June. Thomas Martinez ran into his mother’s room and asked her to stop blow-drying her hair.

He had an idea for his 6th birthday, which was two months away. Instead of a party or gifts, he wanted his friends and family to donate a pair of shoes to help children in need through Shoes for Orphan Souls®, the largest humanitarian aid project of Buckner International.

His mother, Jenny, wasn’t surprised at all.

“This isn’t a normal kid,” she said. “I wasn’t surprised that he would come up with this because he’s very sensitive and tenderhearted. I was a little surprised he was willing to sacrifice a birthday party. We talk a lot about the giving spirit of Jesus. How can you not be proud?”

Thomas’s mother knew he was serious when she saw him watch the Buckner DVD and he had tears streaming down his face.

“I asked him why he was crying because it was such a happy, upbeat video of kids all over the world getting new shoes,” Jenny said. “He just said, ‘Look at those kids. Their feet are all messed up. They don’t have moms and dads.’

“To me, that was a ‘we’re gonna do this’ moment. We’re not just going to get 5 or 10 shoes from a birthday party. We’re going to make this as big as we can.”

On August 15, Thomas’s 6th birthday, he proudly marched into the post office with 145 pairs of shoes to help children around the world. What an inspiration! Thank you, Thomas, for your selfless example and for showing all of us what it means to love like Jesus did.

If you would like to make a difference like Thomas by collecting shoes for kids, please contact us at or register online at to get started on your shoe drive today!



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