What does one do with those shoes in the back of the closet, too good to throw out, but not being worn and just collecting dust? Members of the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Blue Springs collected them as a Lenten project to give to the non-profit agency Soles4Souls, which immediately distributes them to barefoot folk in 121 countries and 45 states. They also invited All Saints Lutheran and Good Shepherd Christian congregations in Blue Springs to take advantage of the delivery truck.
Church members asked everyone they knew to bring in anything that protected feet, and the response was unexpectedly enthusiastic. The collection passed the 1,000-pair mark within the first three weeks and more shoes appeared daily.
A Resurrection parishioner offered his truck to deliver the trailer full of carefully boxed shoes to a Soles4Souls warehouse in northwest Iowa immediately after Easter, with the assurance they would be on there way to eager recipients within two days.
In the Parish Hall of the church hangs a poster of a truck and trailer. Each time a box was filled with shoes, the count was written on a brightly colored rectangular tally card and a running total in big numbers put at its top. The truck was “filled” bottom to top, front to back, and at 961 pairs, a trailer had to be added. It became an inspiration to everyone to add more tallies each time someone came to church.
“We knew we whould have strong numbers,” said Joyce McIntosh, organizer of the drive, “and hoped it would reach four digits. The excitement spread quickly and many took the project to their work places. It’s a win-win situation that warms the heart and shares so much with those who need.” Total pairs of shoes collected, 2,000 on the nose!
“Caring for others and responding to their needs is the focus of our Outreach Ministry,” said the Rev. Ron Keel, rector of Resurrection. “This Lenten project accomplished that goal wonderfully, and gave great satisfaction to those who participated.”