Buckner to Start Shoe Drives in Countries Worldwide
By Analiz González Schremmer
Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls went from being a Dallas-based shoe drive in 1999, to expanding throughout the country.
Now, 10 years later, Buckner prepares to launch its first-ever international shoe drive.
“We have heard from numerous radio stations from other countries who want to conduct shoe drives to benefit children in their country,” said Rachel Garton, director of Shoes for Orphan Souls. “Reaching out to other countries will allow us to help encourage people around the world to help those within their own community.”
Last year, Shoes for Orphan Souls saw a number of triumphs. It was Christian radio K-LOVE’s ministry of the month in August, which meant that the Shoes for Orphan Souls message was broadcast throughout 400 stations in 44 states.
In October, Shoes for Orphan Souls conducted its first shoe trip to the colonias in El Paso, Texas and neighboring Juarez, Mexico, where 750 shoes were distributed by 24 volunteers to children in one of the poorest areas of the United States. Families living in colonias often have no running water or electricity.
2008 also saw the beginning of the Birthday Club, which makes it easy for children to collect shoes for children around the globe during their birthday parties. And the Greek Orthodox Church approved Shoes for Orphan Souls as a recommended service project of their women’s group — the Philoptochos Society.
In total, more than 390,000 shoes were distributed in 2008, Garton said, and she hopes to beat that amount in 2009.
“It was an amazing year,” she said. “But it is something difficult to report. There are big numbers and flashy new programs, but the point is that more children were served. It’s not the multitudes, but rather, the many individuals, each with a name and a dream for a better future, who now have a smile on their faces because someone loved them enough to give them a new pair of shoes.”
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