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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.
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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

Make your Christmas count: serve children in need in Mexico with Air1 Radio this December!

Join Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls and Air1 Radio in Mexico City this December 6-11 as we give health, hope, and education to orphans and children in need through the gift of new shoes – just in time for Christmas!

“This boy whose feet I was washing is not only an orphan, but an orphan with disabilities. He has been completely rejected and cast aside by this world and by his own family. Suddenly it hit me that this boy is going to be chosen to be first in the kingdom of heaven, and I realized what an honor it was to sit on my knees before him and serve him by washing his feet. Instead of rushing through it like I may have done before, I started washing every inch of his feet and made sure to clean each little toe.” Amy Kraus, shoe trip volunteer

While in Mexico City, you will spend your time visiting children in orphanages and our Buckner Family Hope Centers. In addition to giving each child a brand new pair of shoes, you will also share the Gospel with children through Bible stories, crafts, worship and more.

Shoes for Orphan Souls shoe delivery trip to Mexico City, Mexico

Saturday, December 6 – Thursday, December 11

Land cost: $1,290 all-inclusive of meals, bottled water, lodging, in-country transportation, insurance, interpreters, etc.

Airfare: Buckner can arrange all airfare if needed. Air travel taxes and fees are determined at the time of ticketing (approximately $600-$900). Trip participants are responsible for any baggage fees that may be charged on the departure day at airline check-in.

Deadlines: November 6 – application and balance due in full

Tentative itinerary:

Saturday, Dec. 6: leave your hometown and travel to Mexico City, Mexico

Sunday, Dec. 7 – Wednesday, Dec. 10: During your time in Mexico you will work with the children at Buckner Family Hope Centers and local orphanages. You will spend these days distributing shoes and conducting ministry activities with children.

Thursday, Dec. 11: Depart Mexico City for your hometown

For more information about this trip, click here or email us at shoes@buckner.org. To learn about other upcoming trips, visit www.buckner.org/volunteer.

Home: ‘A place where people help each other’

By John Hall

PEÑITAS, Texas – Kneeling on one knee, Paola Mendoza slides a new pair of shoes on a young girl’s feet. A squeal erupts from the preschooler as she jumps out of her mother’s lap in celebration of her new footwear.

Mendoza, 16, smiles. It’s hard not to, she admits, when she sees the child’s joy.

“I like coming here because it’s a blessing to see the little kids with their shoes in their hands and backpacks on their backs,” she says. “It’s such a blessing.”

Mendoza is part of a group of local volunteers who distributed about 500 pairs of shoes and backpacks to area children in need Oct. 18. The footwear was donated by a family through Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls, and the families have earned the shoes and backpacks by being involved in classes at the Buckner Family Hope Center.

Most of the families earn less than $11,000 annually and have four or five children, says Javier Perez, manager of Buckner Missions and Humanitarian Aid. They often struggle to pay bills and meet basic necessities. New shoes are seen as luxury items for their children.

“There’s all kinds of impact that a simple pair of shoes can have,” he says. “Each of these families has an average of five children. This effort is saving them roughly $200. Additionally, these families see volunteers who have taken time off to help. They see people who care about them. That goes a long way in sharing the love of Christ.”

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Houston children receive new shoes

Shoes for Orphan Souls®, the largest humanitarian aid project of Buckner International, began 15 years ago in an effort to provide warm boots to children in Russian orphanages who often went without good quality shoes of their own. Since then, our scope has expanded and to date we have provided more than 2.75 million pairs of shoes to children in more than 76 countries.

We often tell stories of children who receive new shoes on other continents, but did you know that 30 percent of the shoe donations we receive go to children in need right here in the United States?

Children living at the Mission of Yahweh homeless shelter in Houston, Texas, were thrilled to receive brand new shoes in preparation for the new school year.

One of these domestic shoe distributions took place in Houston at a homeless shelter for women and children. Lisa Modglin, shelter manager at Mission of Yahweh, shared excerpts from the thank you letters the mothers wrote in response to their children’s new shoes.

“These new shoes have given my girls the confidence they need to start this school year on the same level as their peers. … As for me, I am so grateful for these gifts. I often stress about the things I need to do to get us back on our feet, yet the girls aren’t depressed. They are happy. They don’t even fully realize our current homeless situation. I did not have the funds or the ability to provide all of this for my children this year and yet God has made it possible. Thank you for allowing my girls to be happy and carefree like their classmates!” Read the rest of this entry