Sunday, August 23, 2009

Redlands church fundraiser also aids shoe charity Soles4Souls

To raise social awareness as well as money for its activities, the Redlands Church of Christ is partnering through Aug. 30 with the national Soles4Souls shoe charity, which provides shoes for people in need around the world.

Church Youth Minister Jeff Partain found the organization, based in Nashville, Tenn., online while researching service projects for his youth group, which numbers 15 to 20 members.

"We felt that this was a good thing to expose our teens to as well as show the community we are reaching out so that we may add to our membership," Partain said.

"At this time of year, when we are scrambling to buy back-to-school items for our kids, we thought this fundraiser would be a good way to raise awareness about those in need of the most basic living essentials," he said.

Like many other schools and organizations, Redlands Church of Christ uses fundraising programs to generate revenue for its operations and goals. The Soles4Souls program provides an alternative to traditional fundraisers, so students can raise money while making a difference in the lives of others, Partain said.

After a kick-off at the beginning of August, students have been collecting monetary donations from family, friends, teachers and neighbors to buy new Soles4Souls clogs or flip-flops. Soles4Souls then ships the shoes to people in need.

"They have helped people in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina as well as needy children in New York City," Partain said.

For every pair of $5 flip-flops or $10 clogs sponsored, the church receives 40 percent of the proceeds from Soles4Souls, along with incentives for students and the programs they are representing, according to the organization's Web site.

Partain is running a contest in his youth group to reward those who bring in the most money with results to be announced at a Sept. 13 event.

Those who wish can visit the church's Web site,, to make a contribution.

The Redlands Church of Christ youth group also is raising funds for its own programs, Partain said.

"With this program, we are hoping to further plant the seed of philanthropy in our youth, congregation and community," he said.

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