Tuesday, June 30, 2009

North Carolina Churches Collect over 5,500 Pairs of Shoes for Those in Need

Twelve Guilford County churches in North Carolina, three churches in Lexington and one each in Archdale, Kernersville and Reidsville joined forces recently to collect more than 5,500 pairs of shoes for victims of natural disasters and those living in extreme poverty.

The campaign, which was led by First Lutheran Church in Greensboro, is part of Soles4Souls efforts to provide shoes for those in need worldwide.

As of June 23 , the churches had collected 5,635 pairs, and a volunteer will buy 120 to 130 pairs of shoes from local thrift stores with $700 in donations. The biggest single contribution was $250 from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. Local company Xpedx contributed dozens of boxes, packing tape and transportation of boxes to a terminal in Greensboro where another local company, which prefers to remain anonymous, will transport the shoes to a Soles4Souls warehouse in Nashville.

About 25 percent of the shoes were taken to Greensboro Urban Ministry. Many of the churches recently participated in Barefoot Sunday, where people left their shoes on the altar or at the front of the church to be donated to those in need.

David Bills , pastoral minister at New Garden Friends Meeting , challenged his parishioners to fill up his pickup truck with shoes. They easily met the challenge, he said. The campaign also took numerous volunteers to help count, sort and box all the shoes.

"It's been a great project because it involved so many churches and lots of volunteers who banded and boxed the shoes," Frank Moore, director of community ministries at First Lutheran , said. "I've been thrilled and grateful for the response and look forward to doing it again well, maybe after a break."

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