International (MNN) — The annual Buckner International "Shoes
for Orphan Souls" drive is underway, and more shoes are urgently needed. Shoe donations are running behind the amount received
"We're about 100,000 pairs of shoes down from last
year's contribution level," said Albert Reyes, president of Buckner Children
and Family Services. Each pair of shoes
represents a child in need.
"In some cases, children in other countries run barefoot,"
Reyes explained. "And when they cut themselves
or scratch themselves running around playing, and then step into contaminated
water, parasites and other things get into their body. In fact, many die that way. So the gift of a pair of shoes at Christmas could
put a smile on the faces of children and save their lives."
143 million children all over the world are orphans, and 50
million of them could be adopted by loving families. Many of these children survive on less than a
dollar a day. Buckner International serves
these vulnerable children in Russia, Romania, Latvia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mexico, Honduras,
Peru, Guatemala, and along the U.S.-Mexico border. It is establishing ministry in Egypt and
considering a new ministry in Sierra Leone.
Children in over 65 countries around the world have received
shoes through Shoes for Orphan Souls. For
many, it's the first brand-new pair of shoes they've ever received. Reyes said it can be
life-changing "to know that someone else in the world has thought of
them. I can't explain the excitement, the joy, and the sense of gratitude that
we find when we encounter opportunities to give shoes," Reyes said.
Sometimes the groups delivering the shoes distribute them in
a very special way.
"We have kind of a ceremony where we actually wash the
children's feet, dry them, and put brand-new socks on them. Then we put the pair
of shoes on them, and sort of bless the children — much like Jesus asked for
children to be brought to Him so they could be blessed," Reyes explained.
You can help by hosting a shoe drive, or by giving a $25
donation to provide a pair of shoes for a child. Because Buckner's generous donors and
endowments cover all of its administrative expenses and overhead costs, 100
percent of your donation goes directly to provide shoes for vulnerable
Buckner also requests support from the prayers of God's people
for this endeavor, especially for "wisdom for knowing where we should go and
who we should serve," Reyes said. "The
needs are so overwhelming, and the resources and opportunities for us sometimes
are limited… Pray for followers of Christ Jesus to open their hearts to
serve those among us…who really need our help."