Last August while I was in Guatemala, I sat down next to a little boy named Juan Miguel.
“OK,” I told him. “This is how it works. First, we’ll take off your boots and socks and set them to the side.” His boots were torn and tattered and were squeezed onto his feet.
He liked the school supplies we’d brought - notebooks, pencils, crayons and more. But when I gave him a brand-new pair of two-tone green running shoes in his exact size, his eyes lit up. They were on his feet in a nanosecond and I could tell he wanted to take them for a spin.
It reminded me of being a kid and what it was like when I got that new pair of shoes at the start of school every year. I thought I could run faster and jump higher, because I had hope. And hope is what I saw in Juan Miguel’s eyes. You see, that day Juan Miguel almost didn’t make it to the Buckner Family Hope Center® in San Jose Pinula. Just the day before, his grandmother had passed.
But Juan Miguel’s mother, while overwhelmed with sadness, felt drawn to the Family Hope Center, saying she believed she would receive a blessing that she intended to return. And that day, hope shined for Juan Miguel and his mother.
Sometime this year, we will give a child the five millionth pair of shoes we’ve collected through Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls® during these past 24 years. That child and the 4,999,000 other kids have new shoes because of you.
Your generous gifts of shoes and financial support make it possible for children like Juan Miguel to go to school without cutting their feet or contracting disease. And just as importantly, your gift of shoes says to a child, “You matter. I care.”
This is our Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid. We opened this building in 2007, enabling us to send your gifts of aid such as shoes, medical equipment, school supplies and so much more across the globe. But this is not a warehouse. This is a distribution center – a brief stop on the way to meeting needs around the world. It’s from this place you are transforming lives and changing the world.
As we look forward to collecting and giving away our five millionth pair of new shoes some time this year, I want to ask your help in hitting the milestone. It’s not about reaching a number. It’s about the number of lives served because of your generosity.
Thank you for your partnership in so many ways. And thank you for putting hope on the faces and feet of almost 5 million boys and girls.