I’ve advocated before, here and here, the wonderful lifesaving work that Buy Shoes, Save Lives has been doing in Iraq. When you buy shoes from them, your money is then used to fund heart surgeries for Iraqi kids whose parents were gassed by Saddam Hussein back in the 90s.
Another ministry I appreciate, though, takes the shoe/humanitarian thing and heads the opposite direction: It lets you buy shoes for kids in developing nations…children who don’t own a pair of shoes. The organization is called Soles4Souls.
I’ve seen the kids-with-no-shoes problem up close and personal. As a father of little kids, it’s hard to visit children who live in a trash dump or squatter’s camp — who are surrounded by trash and disease and horrible living conditions — and see them running around barefoot. Playing, having fun, and oblivious to the fact that they aren’t wearing shoes. My tendency is to picture my kids in those places. It always breaks my heart.
Below: I met this little girl in a barrio called Gualey in Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. She didn’t have any shoes.
Below: Here’s another girl who lived in Gualey, shoeless. Not that it kept her from having fun and acting like a kid.
Below: These guys lived in La Chureca, a trash dump community in Managua, Nicaragua. Also running. Also playing. Also shoeless.
Below: In the photo above, it just looks like they’re playing in dirt. What you don’t know is that directly behind these guys, only a few yards away, was their backyard: the trash dump itself. If you have children, imagine them living in this place, with no shoes. Because that’s what I did and I’ll never forget it.
The truth is that a lot of the diseases these kids end up with can be prevented just by protecting their feet.
Now, go to 50000shoes.com. This is the primary site for Soles4Souls’ 50,000 pairs in 50 days challenge. You can donate two pairs of shoes for just $5. Even better, if you donate before midnight on December 6, you get a chance to win two round-trip tickets on Southwest Airlines.
But don’t donate shoes so you can win stuff. Donate shoes because kids need them. Donate because you are like me and have hundreds of dollars’ worth of shoes in your closet that you never wear. Donate because when you put shoes on the feet of these little ones, you’re putting shoes on Jesus’ feet.