Analiz G. Schremmer
Children are not usually expected to make donations; yet so many are already seeking to help others.
There are orphans who encourage each other, older children in after-school programs who volunteer their time to help younger ones with their homework and even teenage moms who decide that place their child for adoption is the most loving decision they can make.
Buckner recognizes the kindness of these children and wants to make it easier for them to help others.
“We knew that there were already children out there collecting shoes,” said Rachel Garton, director of Shoes for Orphan Souls. “So in 2008 we began a program to facilitate something that was already going on: shoe collections by children. We called it Birthday Club.”
Birthday Club is a program that helps parents and children plan birthday parties that serve as shoe drives for orphans and vulnerable children around the world.
One of the children who collected shoes for Buckner this year was 5-year-old Finley Chastin from Marshall, Texas. She hosted a Shoe Carnival to collect donations. Another child, 11-year-old Summer Brooks collected 657 pairs of shoes through her church, United Methodist in Sulphur Springs, Texas.
“I see these children who are so excited about making an impact on children around the world,” said Brynn Anderson, coordinator for Shoes for Orphan Souls. “It is a great way to teach children about giving at an early age, especially since shoes are such a tangible gift. They can understand that each pair of shoes represents a child’s life that you are impacting.”
Anderson added that children have taken very creative approaches to their collection.
“We had one kid have shoe cupcakes at their party,” she said. “We had another child have all the guests write notes for the kids who would receive the shoes. We encourage children and their parents to be creative in their approach and make it something unique and personal.”
Learn about the ways your child can get involved in Birthday Club or hosting a shoe or call 1-866-774-SHOE(7463).
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