A simple pair of children’s shoes may not look powerful, but they can make a big difference in the lives of vulnerable children and orphans around the world. The Tarkio Rotary Club is teaming up with Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls to ask Tarkio and Westboro residents to collect new shoes for children in need. Since 1999, Buckner has collected more than 3 million pairs of new shoes and has served vulnerable children in more than 80 countries around the globe, including the United States.
Jayne Scott, President of the Tarkio Rotary Club, said, “We hope that with the support of area businesses, churches, retailers, and civic groups, we can help Buckner reach their goal and make life better for children. We know that a new pair of shoes can change the life of a child in an orphanage or impoverished community, and we think each and every child deserves that hope of a bright future,” said Rachel Wallis, director of Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls. “Our team is so grateful for the partnership of the Tarkio Rotary Club in providing for the needs of the children we serve. Because of their commitment to this program, we can continue to increase the number of children who will benefit from a new pair of shoes and socks.”
The shoes, socks and shoe laces that are collected during the drive will provide hope for children living in orphanages and impoverished communities where Buckner offers a variety of holistic services. Through foster care, em­powerment programs, transitional care, and hu­manitarian aid, Buckner supports children and families in countries such as the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Ken­ya, Mexico and Peru.
“Most Americans take shoes for granted, but for many children around the world they are a luxury. Shoes protect feet from diseases such as hookworm, which can lead to physical and cognitive development issues and provide children with an opportunity to attend school,” said Wallis.
Donated items should be for children and teens, and due to customs regulations, shoes, socks and shoe laces need to be brand new. The greatest need is for athletic shoes, sizes Youth 4 to Adult 9. Cash donations are also accepted and will help provide new shoes as well as cover distribution costs.
Wallis emphasized that no donation is too small. “Most donations come from families who give one or two pairs of shoes. Every pair of shoes given makes a big difference to the boy or girl who receives them.”
Drop boxes to receive shoes are located at the Tarkio First Baptist and Assembly of God Churches or can be given to any Rotary Club member. Also, students in grades 7-12 at Tarkio High School are asked to bring one or more pairs of shoes to the principal’s office by Friday, April 21. Cash donations can also be given by placing in an envelope with the student’s name and grade on the outside. The class that brings the most shoes per capita will be rewarded with a pizza party during their lunch time sponsored by the Tarkio Rotary Club.
The collected shoes, socks, and shoe laces will be transported to the Rotary District 6040 Conference in Chillicothe, Missouri, on April 28-29 and then transported by UPS to Buckner International Head­quarters in Dallas, Texas, for distribution to orphanages in Guatemala and Kenya. For more information, call toll-free 1-866-774-SHOE or visit Buckner.org/shoes.