International (MNN) — It’s not intuitive to think that just one pair of shoes could change the life of a child all around. But Buckner International has been showing us how since 1999.
They are approaching their 15-year anniversary of Shoes for Orphan Souls, and they need your help to make it special.
Ashley Williamson of Buckner explains some of the background of the program: “Since we started in ’99, we’ve collected and delivered over 2.75 million pairs of shoes to kids here in the United States and around the world. We’re just really hopeful that in the coming months we’ll be able to bring in a little over 250,000 pairs of shoes.”
Buckner is remarkably close to reaching 3 million pairs of shoes. 250,000 pairs of shoes means a better life for 250,000 orphans. How?
It all starts with health. When children are unable to wear shoes because they cannot afford them, they are forced to walk around barefoot, exposing themselves to viruses and parasites in their environment. Open wounds caused by rough ground increases their chances of bacterial and viral infections. Often times the children develop with issues such as stunted growth.
These basic health issues can be prevented by a simple pair of shoes.
This health expands to the educational arena. Healthy children are more likely to be successful in school for the very reason that they develop healthily and can attend school on a regular basis. Also, many schools require that the students wear shoes; those who have none are forced to stay at home.
The new shoes received by orphans are also a source of hope and proof that they matter, and that they are special. It lets them know that they are loved. Your gift of shoes could be the opportunity for the successful reception of the Gospel by the child as well.
How can you get involved in making sure that they reach the 3 million mark by the end of 2014?
First, you can donate a pair of shoes. Check Buckner’s Web site to find out where to send shoes. If there are no drives in your area, consider hosting your own shoe drive. This is a great way for neighborhoods, churches, and businesses to be involved. If you want to see the shoes delivered to the orphan in person, you can get involved that way, too.
If nothing else, you can pray. Williamson says it well: “Pray for support with shoe drives, just that there would be more than we’ve ever had before.”
Also, pray that this ministry would speak the new life of Jesus Christ into their lives.