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Buckner gives 3 millionth shoe to Guatemalan child

By Lauren Hollon Sturdy

JOCOTENANGO, Guatemala – Dulce Alquijay Raymundo smiled deeply as Buckner social worker Perla Maldonado crouched beside her and slid new pink and white athletic shoes on her feet. Maldonado laced them and tied them. They were ready to wear. And Dulce was ready to wear them proudly.

The 5-year-old jumped for joy, her arms in the air, her dark pigtails flying. It was a moment 16 years in the making. On Jan. 12, Dulce was the recipient of the 3 millionth pair of shoes distributed through Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls®, the largest humanitarian aid project of Buckner International.

Buckner President and CEO Albert Reyes became emotional when speaking of the accomplishment. Since 1999, individuals across the United States have donated shoes, led shoe drives, sorted the footwear and placed them on the feet of vulnerable children around the world. Read the rest of this entry

Not forgotten in Ethiopia

Children in Ethiopia were so excited to learn that there were plenty of new shoes for them in exactly their sizes – they were not forgotten.

Haley Radeka went to Ethiopia earlier this year on a shoe delivery trip with Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls and wrote about her experience here. In the following excerpt from her original blog post, she reflects on seeing the joy in children’s faces when they realized there were new shoes for them.

We broke for lunch and came back to our same groups to pass out shoes. I will never be able to describe the moment of cleaning a child’s feet and putting on a new pair of socks and shoes. It is so tender and beautiful, and heart wrenching all at the same time.

The school collected the shoes sizes ahead of time so all we had to do was pick a pair and match them to a child. As we began and they started to see what we were doing, the shouting of “Miss! Miss!”started again.

As we moved from child to child, I could see the panic in some of their eyes that their turn never would come. The joy that the last few children expressed as they received their new shoes was an amount of joy that I’m not sure I’ve ever felt before. They realized they were not forgotten about and that they too would receive a new pair of shoes.

To read the rest of Haley’s story and see more photos from the trip, click here.

As 2014 comes to a close and you begin making plans for next year, take some time to prayerfully consider whether God is calling you to serve orphans and vulnerable children through a shoe delivery trip. Click here to view the list of 2015 shoe trips.

A small request and a thankful heart

Julia and her daughter found a friend in Buckner Peru staff member Alonso Alegre, who provided them each with a pair of new shoes one day when he was working at the warehouse.

One morning I went to get some work done at the Buckner Peru humanitarian aid warehouse in Huaycan, a suburb of Lima, and outside I heard a girl talking to an older girl, debating if she should knock on the door to ask for a pair of shoes. Finally, the girl decided to knock and I approached smiling because I knew what she wanted. I asked to her to wait for a couple of hours while I finished my work, and told her after that I would look for her to give her a pair of shoes.

After 15 minutes, they knocked on the door again – this time not to ask for something, but to offer me a jug of pineapple juice. That made me very happy.

Continuing my work, I realized I was very hungry and that sadly I had forgotten my lunch. However, someone knocked on the door again. It was the little girl carrying a plate of salad and a main dish. I couldn’t believe they were doing all that for me.

When I finished my work, I looked for her and her mother, Julia, who works in the kitchen at the Buckner warehouse. I went up with both the girl and her mother and helped them find for a pair of shoes they liked. They were very thankful, they hugged me and the little girl gave me a kiss on the cheek.

Julia thanked me and said that because she was going to save some money by not having to buy new shoes for her daughter for school, she was very happy. She received new shoes as well. They thanked me again, we hugged and she told me I didn’t have to worry about bringing my own lunch or eating breakfast, because she was going to wait for me with food. Read the rest of this entry

10 ways to promote your holiday shoe drive

Editor’s Note: Two years ago we brought you a post on fun ways to promote your holiday shoe drive. We’ve brought it back from the archives this year, updated with a few new ideas.

By Lauren Hollon Sturdy

If daydreams of turkey and stuffing are filling your head or you’re already cranking up the Christmas classics, keep in mind that the holidays are also an excellent time to give back and serve others.

If you’re looking for a way to help people in need this holiday season, look no further than a shoe drive! Here are 10 ideas to get you started on making your Thanksgiving or Christmas shoe drive memorable.

  1. Take advantage of Black Friday bargains. If waking up to shop at the crack of dawn is your Super Bowl, make sure to leave room in your cart for some new shoes! Got friends and family who can’t resist a good deal? Ask them to keep shoes in mind when they’re in stores after Thanksgiving, battling it out over Blu-ray players and flat screen TVs.
    Read the rest of this entry

This is for you, Dad

Theresa and her husband volunteered at the 2014 Barefoot Run benefiting Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls in her late father's honor.

For years, Theresa Boldebuck watched her father put others before himself. He cared for the less fortunate. He served the downtrodden. Food pantries. Mission trips. He was compassion incarnate. He was Theresa’s role model.

Earlier this year, Boldebuck and her father Charles Allen were planning to go on a Buckner International mission trip. Together on the mission field, they would do what they most enjoy.

That vision wouldn’t become reality, however. Allen’s cancer spread, and his health faltered. Buckner cancelled the trip for unrelated reasons. On July 4, Allen died.

While his life ended, his legacy of caring continues through Boldebuck. Exactly three months after his death, she and her husband volunteered at the Barefoot Run in Dallas, a 5k run/walk that benefits Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls®. They handed out water and encouraging words to those who ran. It’s what her dad would have done.

“It went great,” she said. “We were so encouraged – by the barefoot runners particularly.”

Helping children and orphans is particularly meaningful for Boldebuck, who for years has donated shoes for Shoes for Orphan Souls and sorted shoes with her husband at the Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid. Struggling in poverty, children are vulnerable and have many needs. Read the rest of this entry