One in three children experience homelessness in the United States. Shoes and socks are in the top 10 items needed by students in school.
In an effort to combat that Shoes of Hope, sponsored by Samaritan’s Feet and Thrivent, delivered 330 pairs of shoes to students at North Charleston Elementary School (NCES) in January.
Samaritan’s Feet International is a non-profit organization founded in 2003 by Nigerian-born Emmanuel “Manny” Ohonme and his wife, Tracie, for the purpose of sharing hope with children in need by washing their feet, giving them a new pair of shoes, and helping them believe that their dreams can come true.
“These shoes are magical,” said one kindergarten student at NCES. The legacy of Samaritan’s Feet began when an aid worker in Lagos, Nigeria gave a pair of athletic shoes to a 9-year-old boy named Manny. Those shoes became a symbol of hope to Manny and a catalyst to his love for basketball. Over time, he earned a basketball scholarship to a college in the US, graduated, began a career, and lived life to the fullest. However, he never forgot the children of his homeland, or that one “Good Samaritan” who gave him hope with a pair of shoes.
“We have matching shoes,” added a NCES first grade student. “I have extraordinary shoes and enjoyed having my feet washed and dried by a teacher!”
The heart of the Shoes of Hope program is foot washing. It may seem uncomfortable when first considered, but when put into practice, it is life-changing for both the volunteer and the recipient. Humility and service are never wasted commodities; they are investments of the human spirit that result in real needs being met and inspiration of others.
For more information, contact the NCES at (843) 745-7101.