The back door to the diesel truck slams shut. Inside, more than 18,000 pairs of shoes and 18,000 pairs of socks are boxed and ready to be shipped to the Buckner Humanitarian Aid Center for sorting and distributing around the world through Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls®.
For the last month, 88.9 Moody Radio in Chattanooga, Tenn., has been promoting their shoe drive with Shoes for Orphan Souls. It’s the largest shoe drive involved with Shoes for Orphan Souls, donating more than a 250,000 pairs of shoes in the 18 years they have partnered with Buckner.
“The partnership between 88.9 Moody Radio in Chattanooga and Buckner International is really cool as it offers an opportunity to work among churches, businesses and ministries all for one cause – that’s to share and live out the gospel through something as simple as a pair of shoes,” said Brent Manion, station manger for 88.9 Moody Radio.
Collecting that many pairs of shoes is a large undertaking, involving multiple churches, businesses and individuals throughout the Tennessee Valley. For weeks, Moody Radio has promoted their annual shoe drive over the air, encouraging their listeners to donate shoes at one of the many drop off locations around the city or to form their own drop off with their church, business or organization. The results are staggering.
More than 175 organizations, businesses, churches and individuals participated in this year’s drive.
“We are so grateful for our partnership with 88.9 Moody Radio,” said Shawn Spurrier, assistant director for Shoes for Orphan Souls. “We know how important every pair of shoes is and to see a community come together like they have here in the Tennessee Valley and collect such a staggering amount of shoes, it really speaks to the heart and compassion they have for vulnerable children all over the world.”
The last day of the drive, volunteers flood the station to help unload cars, trucks and busses bringing the shoes collected throughout the month. Some even coming from neighboring states in Alabama and Georgia. Shoes are sorted, stuffed with a note of encouragement, counted, packed in boxes and loaded onto the truck.
The drop off day is a humid summer day, but it doesn’t hinder the speed and efficiency of unloading and packing shoes. The joy is visible. Every volunteer is smiling and laughing.
“You never think about the importance a pair of shoes can make,” said Linda Morgan. She has been volunteering on drop off day for the Moody Radio shoe drive for the last three years. “We take so much for granted here and a pair of shoes means so much to a child for their health and happiness. I’m so grateful to be here and to help out.”
See additional photos from the day: