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Alexandra’s New Shoes

David Morais, chief engineer at WMBW Radio in Chattanooga, Tenn., spent last week serving vulnerable children and families in Oaxaca, Mexico, on a Shoes for Orphan Souls shoe delivery trip.

In one of his dispatches from Mexico, he tells the following story of a girl named Alexandra who was thrilled to receive the perfect pair of new shoes.

We’re in Oaxaca, Mexico, in the community of San Agustin Yatareni. She’s wearing a clean, pink and white dress. She’s beautiful, despite the holes in her dress. She’s one of 270 children who will receive shoes today.

We take off her old shoes. They’re dirty and very worn. She has no socks. Then we get some wipes and clean her feet. We ask her what her name is and how old she is. She’s Alexandra, and she’s 9 years old.

We make her laugh by offering her my size 12 men’s shoes for her to wear. Her eyes dance when she laughs. We find a pair of shoes to fit and they happen to be pink and white, matching her dress.

Later in the day, we visit the homes of a few families served by this Buckner Family Hope Center and we see Alexandra again playing outside her concrete brick and tin home. She smiles shyly; she remembers us. It is a joyous reunion. Her mother thanks us with shining eyes.

You can listen to more of Dave’s stories about the recent Shoes for Orphan Souls trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, here.

Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls® and LifeWay Christian Stores partner to collect shoes for children in need

DALLAS— Shoes for Orphan Souls®, the largest humanitarian aid project of Buckner International, is partnering with LifeWay Christian Stores this August to collect new shoes for the world’s orphans and vulnerable children.

“We are so excited to partner with LifeWay Christian Stores to bring awareness to the needs of vulnerable children served by Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls,” said Ashley Williamson, Shoes for Orphan Souls manager. “By working together, our hope is that we can broaden our reach to serve more children in the United States and around the world with the tangible gift of new shoes, as well as the love of Christ.”

Throughout the month, individuals and groups are invited to drop off new shoes at more than two dozen participating LifeWay Christian Stores in the following cities: Atlanta, Ga.; Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; Chattanooga, Tenn.; College Station, Texas; Houston, Texas; Longview/Tyler, Texas; and Sarasota, Fla. 

To see a complete list of participating stores, visit www.shoesfororphansouls.com/lifeway. Read the rest of this entry

Buckner shoes offer respite for weary immigrant children

McALLEN, Texas – Daniela Cruz* is bone-tired. After a harrowing month on the road from her home in El Salvador, she crossed the Rio Grande River this week, was picked up by Border Patrol agents and processed as an undocumented immigrant.

She is looking forward to a shower – the first she’s had in a month – clothing and some food provided at the Catholic Charities Refugee Center at Sacred Heart Catholic Church here. Among the clothing is shoes collected through Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls®, available to the waves of children who pass through the center daily with their parents.

Daniela Cruz talks to Javier Perez, manager of missions and humanitarian aid for Buckner, as she waits for her daughters, Carmen, 6, and Lorena, 8, to receive a new pair of shoes collected through Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls® at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church Relief Center July 22. The family traveled for a month from their native El Salvador to reach Texas. The family had just been detained and processed prior to the photo.

The young mother made the journey with daughters Lorena, 8, and Carmen, 6. The decision to go wasn’t easy, nor was it inexpensive, but she said it had to be made.

“First, it wasn’t safe for my children and then there was no employment,” she said. “There is nothing you can do in El Salvador now for employment and I can’t even be sure my kids will be safe because of Mara Salvatrucha (a prominent Salvadoran drug gang, also known as MS-13).

“One of my nieces was being harassed by the gangs, and I didn’t want to have my daughters endure the same treatment.”

So she and her husband made the decision for her and the girls to travel the dangerous route to the United States to join family in New York.

They paid smugglers known as coyotes $3,500 to lead them past her country’s border, through Guatemala and Mexico and finally to the U.S. border, where they swam across the Rio Grande.

The family “travelled by bus mainly at night, and stayed in warehouses, sleeping on the floor for 3-5 days at a time while we waited to go from one country to another.” Along the way, her daughter became ill, but the family did not have access to medical attention. Read the rest of this entry

Radio partners begin summer shoe drives

It’s one of the busiest times of the year for us as several of our radio partners around the country are kicking off their summer shoe drives. Tune in to the following stations for more details:

July 13 – August 8
KVNE/KGLY – Tyler and Longview, Texas
Click here for shoe drive information.

July – August
The JOY FM – Sarasota, Fla. and Atlanta, Ga.
Click here for shoe drive information.

August 1-15
KSBJ – Houston, Texas
Click here for shoe drive information.

August 1-31
WMBW – Chattanooga, Tenn.
Click here for shoe drop off locations.

We are so grateful to have the support of our radio partners and their listeners. On behalf of all the orphans and vulnerable children we serve, thank you for your generosity!

Meet Elisa*!

Elisa is pictured in the center, wearing a headband.

Elisa* received a pair of new shoes during a shoe delivery trip to the Dominican Republic earlier this year. Today, we’re sharing a little bit about her to give you a glimpse into the lives of the children who receive new shoes from Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls®. 

Elisa is 15 years old and says English is her favorite subject in school. She can recite Psalm 139 from memory. It’s her favorite psalm, she says, because “it says that God knows us.” 

She enjoys reading, playing volleyball and playing the piano. She loves to eat hamburgers with mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, relish, cheese and bacon, and her favorite songs are “Awesome God,” Revelation Song” and “Mighty to Save.” 

Another girl living at the orphanage with Elisa was happy to receive new shoes. In her hand, she's holding a photograph that was tucked inside the shoes by the person who donated them!

Elisa is a sweet girl who cares about others. She can be found helping the younger children at the orphanage with their homework and clothes. She says that if she had superpowers, she would use them to help other people. 

She says that even though she lives in an orphanage, she’s glad, because the other girls are like her sisters. She also says that if she had never come to the orphanage, she wouldn’t have heard about God. She accepted Jesus as her Savior a few months after coming to live there. 

We hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit about one of the thousands of children who receive new shoes through Shoes for Orphan Souls each year. When you think of and pray for children around the world who need shoes, remember Elisa and others like her. 

*Name has been changed to preserve privacy