‘Everybody needs shoes’ inspires church shoe drives

Originally published at Western Recorder – http://www.westernrecorder.org/178.article

Lawrenceburg—Churches across the state are partnering with Soles4Souls, funds2orgs and other ministries to collect shoes to help fight poverty.

The donations “have been able to help folks with shoes in Kentucky as well as worldwide,” said Rick Clark, pastor of Central Baptist Church in Lawrenceburg.

“I went to Kenya on a mission trip, and my translator gave me a pair of his shoes that were made out of tires,” Clark said, explaining what inspired him to get involved.

“I brought those back with me, and when I heard the story about shoes going all over the world, I thought, ‘Everybody needs shoes; this is a way to help people,'” he explained.

In the five years that Central Baptist has collected shoes, members have donated over 10,000 pairs of new and slightly used shoes.

“We just ask people to take collection boxes into their work places, to their school, to their community,” Clark said.

Additionally, the church gives out brochures about the program. “The church shares that with other churches and other places, and shoes begin to come in,” he said.

Central Baptists’ shoe collection will last until the end of May. Shoes may be dropped off at the church 24 hours-a-day. For more information contact (502) 829-5013.

West Side Baptist in Berea has held an ongoing shoe drive for the past year and a half.

They donate shoes through funds2orgs. Since they started this program, approximately 10,000 pairs of shoes have been donated.

“They help sort of microbusiness for the people in Haiti and Togo and some other places, and it was just a way for us to give back and support other ministries, too,” program coordinator Kim Matthews said.

“I started realizing that shoes were a huge issue in poverty-stricken areas around the world, including the United States,” she added. “Shoe drives are a way we can assist those who can’t get shoes.

“When I looked in my closet and saw how many shoes I had, the guilt was terrible, so I started with my own closet,” she said.

“There’s a lot of people who don’t even donate things; they just throw them away. I don’t think that is being a good steward of what God has given us,” Matthews added.

Some associations also are getting involved in similar initiatives.

Rockcastle Baptist Association, under the leadership of Director of Missions Randy McPheron, collected more than 1,200 pairs of shoes that were delivered to an Alabama warehouse.

Other churches participating with Soles4Souls include Crestwood Baptist in Frankfort, Sand Spring in Lawrenceburg, and Mt. Moriah in Mt. Eden.

Ministries with the same purpose that Kentucky Baptist churches are participating in include the WaterStep program, Sports Reach shoe drives and other outreach programs. (WR)