A group of students involved in the Buckner Family Hope Center at Aldine in Houston recently helped vulnerable children through the Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls® drive at South Main Baptist Church.
The teens helped sort shoes gathered through the largest annual Shoes for Orphan Souls drive conducted by a single church. The congregation has collected more than 130,000 shoes since 2000.
“We at South Main had a pleasant surprise as 20 or so teenagers from the Buckner Teen Program came to help in our annual Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls/Henry Hill Memorial Shoe Drive,” said Damon Ankenman, co-chairman of the drive. “South Main has partnered with Buckner ministries for the last 17 years in providing new shoes for orphans around the world.
“The shoe drive has become one of many mainstay ministries of South Main Baptist Church as many of its members are totally engaged via monetary donations and voluntary work in the process of providing shoes for needy children. This ministry is a true blessing for all who are involved at South Main and to the thousand of children who receive new shoes for the first time in their lives.”
The Hope Center’s summer teen program encourages personal growth and leadership development between school years. Students learn new skills and ways to positively impact the lives of others. Volunteering to help a Shoes for Orphan Souls drive is an example of those opportunities.
“We went to a church to helped them get the pairs of shoes out from the boxes and tie them up with their pair and then they took us to see the whole church and lastly they gave us food and we had a good time and the people there were very kind,” said Juan Dominguez, 17.
Students also learned the importance of footwear to vulnerable families who already are stretching their resources to survive. New shoes often are a luxury they cannot afford. In developing nations, a lack of footwear exposes children to disease and in some cases prevents them from attending school.
“People aren’t able to grow when they don’t have basic things like resources or education,” Leonardo Herrera, 16, said. “Shoes are something simple that everyone should have. I liked being able to help some people in this small way. It made me appreciative of what I have.”