By Analiz González
(CLEVELAND, Ohio) — WCRF Radio conducted its fifth Shoes for Orphan Souls drive from June 15-Aug. 3, collecting more than 1,100 pairs during its July 31 drop-off day at Joe’s Fine Deli and Restaurant.
“It is the most they have ever raised in a single day,” said Rachel Garton, director of Shoes for Orphan Souls. “It’s exciting to see the program grow each year and to know that what they do means so much to children who have almost nothing.
“We had 432 participating radio stations this year, which is amazing. Shoes for Orphan Souls would not be able to do what it does without their help.”
Garton said the shoes collected by WCRF will go to orphan and needy children served by Buckner International in Latvia.
“I was touched by the commitment of everyone who was involved in the shoe drive,” she added. “Ed Zeager, the chef for Joe’s, took his vacation days so he could be focusing on shoes rather than food during the drop-off day.”
WCRF’s first shoe drive, held in 2004, benefited children in Romania. The next year, the shoes went to Guatemala and the last three years, the shoes have been collected for Latvian children.
“This year, we were authorized to hold back 10 percent of the shoes to give to inner-city ministry in Cleveland,” said Mark Zimmerman, WCRF Radio morning host who was on air asking listeners to make donations in one of the more than 25 drop-off locations.
Zimmerman said he has traveled twice with Buckner and is preparing to take a third trip this October. His 18-year-old daughter is currently serving as one of Buckner International’s interns in Peru.
“What I hope, when someone brings a pair of shoes, is that some day they will be like my daughter and take a trip because until you actually leave the United States and take a look at what poverty really is you can’t appreciate what we have,” Zimmerman said. “You can’t experience how much joy there is in the world that you don’t even know about. We may have all the money, but these folks have all the joy. I love going because I love experiencing that.”
To learn more abot taking a Shoes for Orphan Souls mission trip, contact Buckner Missions at 1-877-7ORPHAN or visit www.ItsYourMission.com.
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