Lawrenceburg—For over 10 years now, Central Baptist Church in Lawrenceburg has made it a priority to partner with Soles4Souls, a charity that collects shoes and distributes them to areas of need. So far this year, they have collected over 2,000 pairs and counting.
Together with around eight to 10 churches in the Lawrenceburg, Frankfort and Shelbyville area, as well as various businesses and individuals, Central has been able to collect these shoes, and the donations keep coming. The campaign will run until the end of May.
The first year, over a decade ago, the church participated in the project, they collected 500 pairs. In 2017, the church collected 4,000 pairs. This year, Pastor Rick Clark believes they will collect even more. In the past, the shoes have gone to Haiti and various African countries.
Shoes are a dire need in many third-world countries. "One of the major issues (in countries that shoes are donated to) is health issues. In countries where they don't have shoes at all, they get parasites, and that makes them get blood disease and they get sick," Clark explained.
"Some of our missionaries talked about how when (the people are) sick, they're hard to minister to," he said. "This helps them to be more well and to be able to go to church and work. Ultimately, the goal is to make them well, but then to give them an opportunity to hear about the Lord."
A recipient of shoes in a Latin American country, shared with the Soles4Souls social media team, her gratitude: "We walk, that is our preferred mode of transportation. We walk to the doctor's office, church, school and daycare. I walk to learn English, the store three miles away, the bakery where I work to make sweet bread and clean the restaurant at night. My oldest daughter is going to middle school, and shoes and clothing have become more important to her. I'm very grateful for the resources you have provided for us.... It's very difficult to dress all my children"
Central Church, located at 6256 Frankfort Rd. in Lawrenceburg, has a 24-hour drop off for donated shoes. The church, as one of the donation sites, has 20-30 volunteers working on sorting and shipping the shoes to the Nashville office of Soles4Souls.
Other initiatives Soles4Souls have taken on include a micro-enterprise system that sends crates of shoes to individuals where jobs are scarce, and they in turn, clean, repair, pair and sell the shoes for a small price that helps their community and family.
For more information about how to get involved with Central Church's shoe drive, call (502) 829-5013. To learn more about how a church can become a donation center, visit www.Soles4Souls.com. (WR)