The Bella Vista Village Bible Church in Arkansas has teamed up with Samaritan’s Feet, an organization that provides shoes to children in need, to help the students of McDonald County School District in Missouri, according to KOAM News Now. Upon the request of one teacher from the school district, Samaritan’s Feet recognized the need for their assistance in the area. Helping their neighbors just across the state border line, Village Bible Church hosted the distribution event with Samaritan’s Feet distributing about 175 shoes to students ranging from early elementary to high school.
Samaritan’s Feet was founded in 2003 by Manny Ohonme, who received his first pair of shoes at nine years old which changed his life forever. Now, with his nonprofit organization, Ohonme has been able to provide that same gift to more than 8.5 million people across the world, including in 450 U.S. cities. Their philosophy is that a new pair of shoes, and the act of washing feet, will give hope and encouragement to those who need it most. Having shoes, especially shoes that fit, allows children and families to live healthier lives as they avoid foot-borne diseases, focus more during school, and have the opportunity for a better life. According to Champions for Kids, as of 2015, shoes and socks were reported to be among the “Top 5 Items Needed” by school students.
Students in need from the McDonald County School District registered for a pair of shoes. Their registration allowed Samaritan’s Feet to provide them with shoes that fit as they each shared what size they needed. In addition to the new pair of shoes, recipients also were given “a bag filled with socks, a hygiene kit, and ‘hope note.’” The “hope note” is a unique feature of the nonprofit that extends their help beyond the items they give out to raise the spirits of recipients through kind words of encouragement. According to Samaritan’s Feet, “children may outgrow their shoes, but they will never outgrow the messages you leave with them.” Another unique feature of their outreach is the “shoe locker” which are lockers designated in a school that hold a supply of athletic shoes. Children who have shoes that fit improperly or are worn can immediately find another pair while at school and return to their class or the playground.
Through giving shoes to those in need, Samaritan’s Feet is making an enormous impact on the lives of people who are struggling either to find a pair of shoes or buy a pair of shoes that fit. It means the world to those who receive a new pair of shoes as they no longer need to worry about the hazards of walking around barefoot, having holes in their shoes, or having worn out shoes that are too big or too small. Bringing health, safety, and dignity to those in need makes Samaritan’s Feet a unique organization that has a thorough outreach program covering many different ways of helping people. From getting the shoes onto the feet of those who need them to sending lasting messages of hope and encouragement, Samaritan’s Feet has no limit to what they will do to improve the lives of others.