Rock Port Rotarians packing shoes at First Christian (pictured above, left to right) were: Eryn Stepp, James Clodfelter, Stan Griffin, Bill Bunton, Mark Bennington, David Klappenbach, Corey Herron, Craig Corken, and James Jacoby.

Local Rock Port Rotary members are pictured with District 6040 Governor Allen Garner, Larry Lunsford, John Gill, Julie McCoy, Valerie Anderson, and Cassy Venters, along with an inbound Group Study Exchange team from Chile.

Submitted by Pastor Rodney Hopper, First Christian Church, Rock Port, Mo.

The Rock Port Rotarians met April 26, 2018, at First Christian Church  as they completed the packing of Shoes for Orphan Souls. The official totals for the mission project is as follows: First Christian Church donated 111 pairs of socks and 173 pairs of shoes and Rock Port Rotary donated 10 pairs of socks and 381 pairs of shoes. The Rock Port Rotary Club donated its collection of 554 pairs of new shoes and 121 pairs of new socks for Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls during the recent Rotary District 6040 “Shoes Caravan” April 27, 2018.
“It would not be possible to help orphans without heartfelt commitments to this continued shoe drive by its community sponsors such as First Christian Church, Rock Port Rotary, and other people in our community,” said Shoe Coordinator Pastor Rodney Hopper. “Thank you and with sincere appreciation for having a heart that reaches out with gifts of love help orphans in great need!” “Each person should give what they have decided in their heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
In partnership with the other 55 Rotary clubs in Missouri Rotary District 6040, a total of 15,600 pairs of shoes, 4,100 pairs of socks, 750 pairs of shoelaces, and nearly $10,000 were collected for vulnerable children and orphans in the United States, Guatemala, Peru and Puerto Rico. This humanitarian aid was collected during the 22-stop Shoes Caravan, starting in Higginsville, Missouri, on April 25 and ending in Macon, Missouri, on April 28. Northwest Missouri Rotarians District 6040, including the Rock Port Rotary Club, remains the largest single contributing organization to the Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls campaign to date, collecting a total of 320,000 pairs of shoes and $152,000 in cash since the first shoe drive in 2001. “The people of Rock Port really opened their hearts to help children in need,” said Pastor David Klappenbach, president of the Rock Port Rotary Club. “As Rotarians, we want to provide service to our local community and to people in need around the world. 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.”
United Parcel Service and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway partnered with Rotary District 6040 to provide transportation for the collection, from the final caravan stop in Macon, Missouri, to the Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid in Dallas, Texas. “UPS encourages its employees to volunteer and give back to the community in which we live,” said Patrick O’Connell, UPS driver who has helped with this shipment for many years. “Since we are a global company, this project not only helps our community, but also the children of many nations.” Many of the drivers for UPS who volunteered their time were also raised as orphans.
Scott Collins, a representative of the Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls program, said Buckner is “extremely grateful” for the shoe donation this year, as well as for all of the donations they have received from Rotary District 6040 in the past. “Rotary’s consistency over 17 years has allowed us to send more shoes to children around the world, and ultimately, opened the door for us to share love and care with more children who otherwise wouldn’t receive it,” he said. “No other organization has had the willpower and vision to involve so many people to make a difference as Rotary has.”
Shoes for Orphan Souls, the largest humanitarian aid project of Buckner International, provides new shoes and socks to orphans and vulnerable children in the United States and throughout the world. From conducting shoe drives to humanitarian aid trips, Shoes for Orphan Souls offers hands-on opportunities to individuals, groups and organizations wanting to transform lives. Since 1999, Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls has delivered more than 3 million pairs of new shoes to children in 82 countries.