Friday, September 19, 2008

Church Looking for a Few Good ‘Soles’

Thanksgiving might be more than two months away, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to give others something to be thankful for. Like shoes.

While many Americans might take for granted the numerous pairs of shoes they own, across the globe millions of children are believed to have never owned one pair.

In the United States, thousands have also been left homeless following hurricanes, tornadoes, fires and other disasters and have likewise lost all their possessions. And among those lost items, children and adults alike are left without even the simplest things –– shoes.

The Rev. James Lawson became aware of the issue while reading a Christian newsletter that featured Soles4Souls. Lawson said he believes getting his church, Pickering Christian Church in Maryville, MO involved would be a great undertaking that would benefit many.

"I wanted to know if we could accomplish something with this," Lawson said. "I don’t want this to replace or compete with the Red Cross or Maryville United Way, but I think this could add to it."

He and fellow church members agreed to hold a drive between now and Saturday, Nov. 22 to collect as many shoes as possible throughout the area. The shoes will then be blessed and donated to Soles4Souls for distribution.

Lawson said the date was chosen because it is the last weekend before Thanksgiving, a time when he hopes to give others a reason to be thankful.

"It excites me to be involved and I’m glad to see other people getting excited about it as well," Lawson said. "We’ve been overwhelmed with the response we’ve already had just from people who heard about it from word of mouth."

The shoes should be gently worn or new. He said all sizes and shoe types are accepted, including sandals, thongs and other similar items.

If others prefer to donate money to purchase shoes, checks could be made to the Pickering Christian Church with "Soles4Souls," noted as a memo. Donors are asked to tie or otherwise find a way to keep both shoes together to cut down on instances where one shoe is missing and must be searched for.

Shoes can be dropped off at the Pickering post office, 300 W. Fifth St. or Lawson’s house at 926 N. Main St. in Maryville. Shoes can also be picked up by calling Lawson at (660) 582-2618 or Greg Thompson at (660) 927-3796.

Meanwhile, Lawson said others from churches, organizations or just individuals themselves are more than welcome to join the effort to collect and donate shoes.

"This is something everyone can do. I’ve had employers tell me that if everyone just donated one pair of shoes, we could collect hundreds or even more," Lawson said.

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