MIDLAND — More than 2,600 pairs of shoes were collected for Shoes for Orphan Souls at Rock the Desert this year, bringing the total for the last three years to around 16,000 pairs. The concert with a cause also brought in 349 pairs of new socks and $728.
The First Baptist Church Ralls youth group brought in half of that total with 1,305 pairs of shoes they collected in the months leading up to the concert. They raised awareness of their drive by doing a “No Shoes Sunday” at their church, holding a fundraiser and promoting it on Facebook, and working with local businesses to arrange discounts for shoes purchased for the drive.
“We start early collecting shoes,” said Bruce Harris, FBC Ralls youth pastor. “That’s been our push for our youth group. It’s what we do to give back to the community.”
“It allows the kids firsthand to contribute back to a cause,” he said. “You know the scripture James 2:14-18 basically says that faith without works is dead. It goes on to say that when you see somebody hungry or lacking clothing and you do nothing, what good is that? We’re trying to teach our kids that it’s important to do something.”
Thousands of young people attended the concert, which featured such big-name Christian artists as Switchfoot, David Crowder Band and Skillet. People managed to stay cool and enjoy three days of in the triple-digit heat and dust.
“It was very enjoyable, even if it was hot and dirty,” said Eric Kline, inventory specialist for the Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid. “The youth had a great time.”
The Wal-Mart Corporation played a big part in the success of the Rock the Desert shoe drive by donating the use of one of its trucks, as well as the cost of transportation and fuel, to deliver the new shoes collected at Rock the Desert to the Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid in Dallas. These shoes were enough to finalize a shipment of aid to Romania last month. Wal-Mart is also providing transportation for more than 8,000 pairs of shoes collected from the shoe drive radio station JOY FM hosted in Sarasota, Fla.