Friday, July 09, 2010

Two Men Inspired to Make a Difference

Mete Pete Johnson and Chris Lockhart.  These two men have discovered a passion for helping others by using the resources provided to them by Soles4Souls and their connection with the Florida based organization called REHOPE.

[ME]: What inspired you to travel to Colombia to give shoes to children in need?
[Chris and Pete]: A long time friend had been working with kids she had taken off the streets of Bogota, or would have soon ended up there.  Knowing this, and being at a point in our lives where we felt like it was time to give back to others, created our desire to help the kids.    

[ME]: Did you travel with an organization or was this something that you chose to do on your own? 
[Chris and Pete]: We started out on our own and over time we connected with REHOPE, who we are currently working with.  REHOPE has all the groundwork in place to make a difference but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done and money to be raised.

[ME]: How long were you in Colombia?
[Chris and Pete]: We have made several different trips, each trip being only a few days long. We have so far spent 26 total days in Columbia and have carried in over 1,200 lbs of shoes and clothing.

[ME]: How many pairs of shoes did you give away? 
[Chris and Pete]: Approximately 300 pairs so far.  We did not start working with Soles4Souls until the last 100 pairs, but with the quality of the shoes we received, and ease of working with Soles4Souls we wish we had started the partnership earlier.   We hope to deliver many more pairs in the future as we develop more outlets in Bogota, and as the orphanages we are currently working with grow. 

[ME]: How did you select the children that you give shoes to? 
[Chris and Pete]: REHOPE has several foundations and orphanages they work with that have children in need.   They also work with community leaders and church pastors to reach out to families that are less fortunate. 

[ME]: How do you think that the people you gave shoes to will be affected by your donation? 
[Chris and Pete]: Most of the children did not have quality shoes and some had no shoes at all.  With shoes no longer being a pressing need, the foundations we are working with in turn can focus on other needs such as food and shelter. More importantly, by giving the children shoes an instant bond is created. The hope and feeling that someone cares for them long outlasts the pair of shoes.

[ME]: What was the most moving experience of the trip? 
[Chris and Pete]: We enjoyed seeing the smiles on the kid’s faces.   They were truly impressed that we would come from North America to bring them shoes.  These kids get little attention so being given shoes was a great blessing to them. 

[ME]: What did you gain personally from going on this trip? 
[Chris and Pete]: Lifelong friendships and bonds are made with each trip we make. The heartfelt gratitude and appreciation we receive is very rewarding. It is nice to know that something that cost us so little can mean so much to others.  Also, it is hard to convey – but there is a perspective that one comes away with that is invaluable.  There was a true joy experienced in the trip that one has to witness on their own. 

[ME]: Would you consider going on another trip? 
[Chris and Pete]: Absolutely!  We will be returning to Columbia in August, and plan on visiting as much as our schedule and resources allow.  We are excited that Soles4Souls is branching out to distribute clothing in the future as well.

[ME]: Will you encourage others to go on trips, either with SoleSoles4Soulsouls or on their own? 
[Chris and Pete]: Yes. We feel we can do more by spreading the word about Soles4Souls, and REHOPE within the flight department at FedEx.  Many pilots and dispatchers have already given donations or helped to carry in supplies.  There are many opportunities that go beyond shoes, yet shoes are very much needed.  It is our goal to reach out to other airline employees, provide information, and give them the opportunity to give back, as well as experience the joy that we have experienced.



More Information About the Two Men and REHOPE
Pete Johnson worked in the transportation industry for many years, giving him the opportunity to travel.  He has been to many destinations, yet was looking for someplace new to go while helping others at the same time.  Traveling to Bogota was a stark contrast to what would be considered more popular destinations, yet in many ways was incredibly much more fun and fulfilling.   He has discovered an excellent way to reach those in need, while having a great time.  At the same time being very much appreciated by the recipients of the shoes and clothing we have brought those in need.  It takes little in a third world county to make a difference.
Chris Lockhart feels called to do more to help others based off of events that have happened in his life.  Inspired by his friend, Pete Johnson, and the work he was doing in Bogota, Chris gained the courage to leave his comfort zone and  go out to try and make a difference in the world.  Having travel benefits because of his job, he was fully capable of fulfilling his calling to help others.  And with a passion for photography, he has captured moments that he hopes will show others the many needs in the world and like him, they too will be inspired.
REHOPE was started based off of the vision of helping children in Colombia. It all started in December 2006 when members from the church of Abatel located in Tampa, Florida and FedEx employees collected food, clothing and money for these children in need. We began by periodically sending donations to programs that serve children in several countries. Our vision is to impact the lives of 400 neglected children and young adults that are homeless, abandoned in the streets and living in forgotten environments by providing them with food, education, health care, guidance, love and a home in the outskirts of Bogotá Colombia.   Please see http://rehopefoundation.org/  or e-mail pete.johnson72@yahoo.com for more information.  

3 comments:

婷珊 said...

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Anonymous said...

What an example for others