For many engaged couples, love takes shape in the form of extravagant wedding plans or exotic honeymoons, but for one Reading, Mass., couple it’s all about shoes.
Jessie Queior and Tim Synan were married Sept. 7. Instead of asking for gifts at their wedding, they asked for new shoes to help orphans around the world.
The shoes collected will be distributed through Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls® to aid orphans and vulnerable children around the globe.
“We want our wedding to be a celebration and what better way to do that than invite our guests to invest in something that both our hearts are drawn toward,” Jessie said. “At the end of the day, I get the amazing gift of marrying my best friend, and because we are so blessed, we want nothing more than for the money people would have spent on us to go toward a bigger cause.”
Giving back to the less fortunate is a natural overflow of the couple’s love, Tim said.
“Jessie is the one who first found out about Shoes for Orphan Souls, and it was her excitement that drew me in to want to learn more,” he said. “That is just how she lives her life – always caring and always giving without wanting anything in return. I’ve never met anyone with such a big heart for people in need.”
Jessie initially learned about Shoes for Orphan Souls while listening to K-LOVE Radio during a nationwide shoe drive.
“Hearing that I could help provide hope to an orphan seemed so overwhelming, but once I heard it broken down to how a simple pair of shoes could help change a child’s future it all of a sudden clicked,” Jessie said. “By donating a pair of shoes, we are hoping our wedding guests will be able to identify with a cause beyond just signing a check. Each pair of shoes we collect will be hand-placed on a child’s feet as the love of God is shared – there is no greater gift than that.”
When the couple first announced their plan to collect shoes instead of wedding gifts, they were met with a host of questions and disbelief.
“I’m pretty sure everyone thought we were crazy when they first found out about our plan,” Tim said, “but as we’ve had a chance to explain the purpose of the shoe drive we have seen our friends and family get really excited about it.”
They aimed to collect 150 pairs of shoes. From social networking to word of mouth, Jessie and Tim were creative with the ways they spread the news of their shoe drive. Their friends and family even jumped on board as they hosted a “shoe shower” in place of a wedding shower.
“No matter what position he is put in, Tim continually blows me away by constantly thinking outside the box as to how he can do more to impact the lives of the less fortunate,” Jessie said. “He is such a passionate person in all he does – always searching for a way to make a difference.”
Tim said he couldn’t describe how, but he “just knew” Jessie was the one.
“I think that seeing our priorities line up in the area of service is really what drew us together and what continues to increase our love for each other,” he added.
Lauri Ann Hanson is the marketing and media relations coordinator for Buckner International. She can be reached at lahanson[at]buckner[dot]org.
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