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Buckner receives 29,244 sandals from Niagara University

Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls received 29,244 sandals Aug. 1 from the Sandal Falls Project at Niagara University in Lewiston, N.Y. Buckner will send many of the shoes to the Rio Grande Valley as part of the Buckner initiative to care for migrant children crossing the Texas border.

“The timing of this donation is an answer to prayer for our team and will allow us to serve even more children who are crossing the Texas-Mexico border seeking refuge in the United States,” said Ashley Williamson, Shoes for Orphan Souls manager. “We pray that the sandals will remind these children of the Lord’s love and provision for them in the midst of so much uncertainty.”

Buckner will send many of the sandals to the Rio Grande Valley along with nearly 500 other pairs of shoes collected at the Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid in Dallas. This is the first donation of a long-term partnership between Buckner and the Sandal Falls Project.

The Sandal Falls Project is a service venture of B.O.L.D. (Business Organizational Leadership Development), a student-led business club at Niagara University. B.O.L.D. annually collects sturdy, waterproof sandals purchased by tourists for admission to the Cave of the Winds Tour attraction at Niagara Falls. They work in conjunction with the Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M. Institute for Civic Engagement, a community outreach branch of the university.

“The Sandal Falls project starts an essential conversation about the importance of footwear to the health and education of children around the world,” said Dr. David B. Taylor, institute director at Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M. Institute for Civic Engagement. “Through the simple service project of sorting, packaging and redistributing sandals, we raise students’ awareness about such complex issues as poverty, globalization, environment and social inequity.”

B.O.L.D. partners with organizations around the world that have humanitarian aid efforts to distribute the sandals locally and abroad. Business students and members of the club volunteer their time to sanitize, sort and bag the shoes donated by Cave of the Winds, where tourists wear the shoes for a few hours during their tour of Niagara Falls.

“The students are passionate about this project and work hard during the school year to organize student work groups that make this possible,” said Yvette Suarez, institute coordinator at Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M. Institute for Civic Engagement. “It has been our prayer that we would find a partnership that helps us reach the less fortunate and now the students can focus more effectively at continuing the process. This relationship with Buckner gives them an outlet to do what they set out to do because Buckner is a tangible organization meeting a tangible need."

Elizabeth Arnold was the summer marketing intern for Buckner International.

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