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Notes from the field: A thank you from Nigeria

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As you may know, Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls has distributed shoes to children in 76 countries over the years. Some of these shoes are distributed in countries where Buckner has international NGOs, and some are distributed by organizations we partner with.

Mike Julian, director of international aid for Buckner International, recently received a note from a partner organization that delivers shoes in Nigeria.

Thank you so much for the shoes you donated to our Motherless babies and school. We are amazed that there are still organizations like Shoes for Orphan Souls that can donate shoes free of charge to the poor and needy. We have never had anyone donate anything to us. … Please when you get to America, extend our greetings and appreciations to Shoes for Orphan Souls. The love notes, scriptures and prayers on those cards in the shoes were very uplifting. It shoes that people really care even when they don’t know us here in Africa. Thank them for praying for us. Read the rest of this entry

Peachy keen idea: Arizona girl sells fruit for Shoes for Orphan Souls

By Lauren Hollon Sturdy

Every Saturday during the 2013 farmer’s market season in Payson, Ariz., 7-year-old Brooklyn Klein diligently set up her pint-sized fruit stand in between her grandma’s jam stand and a homemade peanut butter vendor, arranging her wares in bowls, bags and Chinese takeout boxes. When the market opened for business, she already had customers lined up, waiting to buy fruit from their favorite little seller.

Brooklyn had her eyes on the prize: shoejs for children in need. Her church, Expedition Church, was hosting a shoe drive for Shoes for Orphan Souls, and Brooklyn was inspired to do her part to support the project. She had operated a small lemonade stand at the market the year before to raise money to send Christmas gifts to children overseas, so she wanted to try something new.

“We have a peach tree and a plum tree in our backyard,” said Katie Klein, Brooklyn’s mother. “We decided to pick from that and sell it.”

Their backyard trees have low-hanging branches that Brooklyn can reach from a little step stool. She would work together with her mom, her dad, Joe, and her little sister, Ellie, on Friday nights or early Saturday morning before the market to pick between 60 and 70 pounds of fruit to sell.

Brooklyn’s secret to picking the best fruit? “It’s the ones that come off the tree really easily.” As they picked, she and her family carefully lined up the fruit in stackable trays to keep it from getting bruised and mushy.

Katie and Joe run the Payson farmers market and would arrive at 6 a.m. to open it up and prepare for the day. Rows of canopy tents soon lined a parking lot where 39 vendors set up to sell fresh produce, eggs, snacks and locally made products like goat cheese and peanut butter.

Brooklyn and Ellie would come later with their babysitter in time for Brooklyn to set up her stand before the market opened at 8 a.m. She displayed a Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls poster at her fruit stand and was happy to tell people all about why children needed new shoes. When customers at the farmers market learned about Brooklyn’s reasons for setting up shop, they quickly offered their support. Read the rest of this entry

Mother-daughter mission team experiences miraculous meeting in Honduras

By Lauren Hollon Sturdy

Sherry Schrage had a feeling that bringing her 15-year-old daughter, Abby, on a mission trip to Honduras was a mistake as their September 2013 trip with Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls® drew closer.

Abby, on the other hand, was too excited to be nervous. The entire family loves missions and serving others, and she had already gotten permission to miss the first week of school. They boarded their plane from New York to Tegucigalpa, but Sherry continued to question her decision to let her daughter go.

The mission team’s first day of ministry took them to an impoverished area near Tegucigalpa where they made their way to an orphanage called October 21. The team was warned: this would be the toughest orphanage they’d see throughout their whole trip.

October 21 is an all-boys orphanage with older kids up to age 18. Many of them aren’t orphans in the most literal sense – their parents are alive, but can’t afford to take care of them. A lot of children there have special needs, and some of the boys came to the orphanage from life on the streets. Though the orphanage staff cares deeply about the children, they have limited resources. It showed in the tattered clothes and worn shoes. Read the rest of this entry

‘New shoes changed my life’

Fabiola, a bright and energetic 9-year-old, lives with her three brothers, step-father and mother in Honduras.  Like many in Fabiola’s community, they survive on a small income, barely able to provide life’s basic needs.

Fabiola’s daily journey on the uneven, rocky terrain to attend school at the Buckner Family Hope Center was done in a pair of old worn-out sandals, the only pair of shoes she owned, until a group of volunteers with Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls visited her community last year.

Fabiola dreams of the day she can become a doctor and help the people who so desperately need medical attention in her community.  Buckner is helping Fabiola obtain her dream by providing education, health and hope through a new pair of shoes.

“When children receive a pair of new shoes in Honduras, their faces shine with hope. It isn’t just a pair of shoes to them. It is a means of staying healthy, avoiding diseases and knowing that someone cares for them,” said Luis Aguilar, missions coordinator for Buckner in Honduras.

The countdown to 3 million shoes — we need YOU!

We know 2014 is going to be a big year for Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls® – not only because it’s our 15th anniversary, but because we have set a huge goal that we need YOU to be a part of: delivering the 3 millionth pair of shoes by the end of 2014.

Shoes are essential for children’s health as a first line of defense against parasites, cuts, infections and other injuries. Shoes can mean education for many children around the world, where shoes are required for school attendance and families lack the resources to purchase them on their own. Shoes can also provide an orphan child with hope and the assurance that someone cares about them – for many, these shoes are the only item they truly have as their own.

We won’t reach the 3 million mark without your help! Here are five ways you can get involved with Shoes for Orphan Souls this year.

  1. Commit to Pray. Set a reminder on your calendar to pray for the following:
    • That individuals, churches, organizations, schools and businesses around the country will partner with us to collect more shoes this year than ever before.
    • For our domestic staff and volunteers who serve in the Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid as they work to process the shoes for international shipment.
    • That each overseas shipment will be cleared for export without any delays, arrive safely to its destination and be processed quickly and efficiently in-country.
    • That our shoe delivery trips will fill up volunteers who will be the hands and feet of Christ to those we serve.
    • That each child who receives a pair of shoes this year will know that he or she is valuable, loved and known by God.
  2. Go on a Mission Trip. There are six shoe delivery trips scheduled for five different countries beginning in late June. Are you being called to go and serve? Check out the 2014 trip calendar to find a trip that’s right for you.
  3. Host a Shoe Drive. Sign up now and be a part of collecting the 3 millionth pair of shoes in 2014. Hosting a shoe drive is simple – we’ll send you all the promotional materials you need to have a successful drive.
  4. Donate a Pair of Shoes/Give Online. A $25 donation is all it takes to provide one child with a pair of new shoes. Click here to donate now.
  5. Join our Email List (and follow us on Facebook and Twitter). Stay connected to the latest news and inspirational stories from Shoes for Orphan Souls. Click here to join our email list and start getting bimonthly updates.