Annual Shoes for Orphan Souls donations accepted at Prater Ford

Each August, the Buckner International’s Shoes for Orphan Souls campaign collects shoes for needy children throughout the world, and this year’s campaign in Calhoun begins on Wednesday, Aug. 1.

Buckner Shoes for the Orphan Souls provides new shoes and socks to orphans and vulnerable children in the United States and throughout the world. While Shoes for Orphan Souls serves children all over the world, in countries such as Ghana, Liberia, South Africa, Rwanda, Afghanistan, North Korea, Syria, Colombia, El Salvador and Mexico, 30 percent of the donated shoes stay in the United States, offering hope to children through foster care and community programs.

According to their website, Buckner has distributed more than 3 million pairs of new shoes and socks to children in 82 countries since 1999. Last year alone in Gordon County, 273 pairs of shoes and 247 pairs of socks were donated.

It’s easy in our community to overlook the need of a simple pair of shoes, but for many children around the world living in poverty, a new pair of shoes promotes health by protecting against disease and infection. Since many children in developing countries walk mostly barefoot through muddy, rock terrain everywhere, parasites and diseases, including hookworm, jiggers and tetanus, can enter the body through cuts in the feet. These illnesses can stunt a child’s growth and development, as well as cause lifelong mental damage.

Shoes also lower barriers to school attendance and provides increasing chances in obtaining an education and rising out of poverty. Many schools around the world require children to wear shoes to attend, but for many poverty-stricken families, shoes are a luxury they cannot afford.

Shoes also offer hope to children, especially orphans who typically have to share everything they own with other orphans. The donation of shoes show the children that someone cares about them and their wellbeing.

New shoes are requested for the fundraiser- they last longer, and as a gift to a child with few possessions, they communicate volumes about his or her inherent worth.

Since 1879, Buckner International has existed to shine hope in the world’s darkest places, bringing transformation to the lives of the most vulnerable from the beginning to the ending of life.

This year’s drop-off location in Gordon County is Prater Ford, located at 704 South Wall Street in Calhoun. Donations will be accepted through Thursday, Aug. 30.

Don’t miss the opportunity to give a child a new pair of shoes. For more information, call 706-629-2685.