[caption id="attachment_1128" align="alignnone" width="492" caption="Jack and Jill chapter leaders pose for a picture in front of a mountain of Shoes for Orphan Souls."][/caption]
By Emily Underwood
(DALLAS, Texas) – Not everyone gives just to get something back.
Rachel Silmon participated in the Jack and Jill Conference for African-American youth in the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport’s Hyatt Regency Hotel. The group of more than 500 donated 350 pairs to Buckner International’s Shoes for Orphan Souls and 300 pairs of socks at the event.
“I don’t give to receive, but I give knowing that people need it more than I do,” Silmon said.
Silmon and the other teens listened as Rachel Garton, director of Shoes for Orphan Souls, thanked the crowd for their gift. A banner in the background read “We’ve got soles for souls.”
“Shoes are lifesavers because they protect the feet of orphans from diseases and infections,” Garton said, adding that Buckner “sends people who care about orphans to personally put the shoes on each child’s feet. It is a unique opportunity to show the orphans that they are valued.”
SOS has distributed more than 1.9 million pairs of new shoes to at-risk children in the United States and to orphans in 55 countries around the world. Garton predicts Buckner will hit the 2-million mark in shoes collected within the next few days.
[caption id="attachment_1123" align="alignleft" width="278" caption="Rachel Garton, director of Buckner's Shoes for Orphan Souls, thanks the Jack and Jill Convention for the generous donation of shoes and socks at the Hyatt Regency in the Dallas Fort Worth Airport."][/caption]
“The youth in this organization want to connect with the orphans and give a little bit of themselves along with the shoes,” Garton said. “They were so excited about writing notes (to the children) that someone had to ask them to settle down.”
Sheryl Walter, community service chair for the conference, helped host the conference. As she described the organization that she has been involved in since childhood, she emphasized the importance of service.
“We give in order to set an example for our children and to leave behind a legacy. It’s a unifying experience as a culture,” she said.
She added that Jack and Jill is often generational. Many current members are second or third generation members of the organization.
Belani Bynum, 15, and a member of the North Houston Suburb chapter said that giving shoes is life-changing for her and the orphan receiving the donation.
“Knowing that you have made a difference in one person’s life is the most rewarding part of contributing to Shoes for Orphan Souls,” she said.
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