Knowing of this great need, 15 years ago, Sister Becky Dewaal’s heart broke for these children and got busy meeting the need for children to have a new pair of shoes to start school that year. In addition to buying them new shoes, socks and underwear were provided in the past through this effort. This year the committee has added school uniforms with the help of two partners, Immanuel Baptist Church and First Methodist Church. The Bridge Fellowship will be helping with the distribution.
First Baptist Church in Lebanon, Mrs. Dewaal’s home church, was excited about blessing the inner city children with new shoes and contributed financially at the start and has continued to work through The Potter’s House Ministries during the past 10 years to meet this need. Year after year other churches and individuals have joined in the effort. Mrs. Dewaal has now gone to be with Jesus, but her passion for children continues through many.
This year many more families are in need of new shoes for their children, and it is time, the committee members said, for other churches, groups and individuals to join them in being blessed by blessing the community’s children. At the start of school, all children have traditionally have been blessed with new clothes and shoes. They feel good about themselves when they look good. All of this contributes to improving the learning process, the members noted.
This past year adequate financing was contributed to put about 420 new pairs of shoes on inner city children’s feet and provide them with new socks and underwear. This number still falls short of the actual need, committee members said.
They noted that just in the public housing neighborhoods (Upton Heights and Inman Court), more than 200 children reside. In addition, they said, there is also a great need across town in the Maple Street and Hobbs Street neighborhoods. Members said the goal for this year has been set at raising enough funds and collecting enough used shoes to obtain 600 new pairs of shoes, along with socks, underwear and uniforms for middle school-aged children.
The committee noted that this Annual Shoe Drive would be a great project for area Sunday School classes, mission groups, women’s groups, individuals or businesses to get on board with.
Shoes will be distributed on Friday afternoon, Aug. 8, from 5 until 7 p.m. at the Mary Chaffin Church Building. For more information or to get involved, contact The Potter’s House Church during regular business hours at 449-9019 or at 444-5030. Briggs and Owens are the contacts for this event.