Wednesday, August 8, 2012
A donation of a pair of shoes to Shoes for Orphan Souls does much more for the recipient than simply provide footwear, according to Signal Mountain resident and 517 Subs owner Sara Holmes.
Holmes and her husband Russ are holding their fourth shoe drive for the organization this year. Each August they collect approximately 100 shoes at their Signal Mountain restaurant to send to Shoes for Orphan Souls, which distributes the shoes along with the message of Christ to 37 countries worldwide.
“I think it’s a very needed endeavor to help children that really have a need,” said Holmes, who heard about Shoes for Orphan Souls on WMBW Christian radio and decided to hold a drive at the restaurant. “I see how the people are blessed on Signal Mountain by bringing the shoes into the store to give to the children.”
For children in impoverished countries, new shoes offer better health in the form of protection against parasites that can be absorbed through the foot, she said. They also help provide the child with an opportunity for education, said Holmes.
“You can learn better when you’re healthy,” she said, “and in a lot of these countries, if you don’t have shoes, you can’t go to school.”
Hope is one of the most important effects a pair of shoes has on its recipient, she said.
“A lot of kids in orphanages have to share everything,” said Holmes. “Giving them a pair of shoes — something that’s personal — makes them feel special and worthy.”
For health reasons, only new shoes can be accepted. Athletic shoes for infants to teenagers are needed as well as socks, and she said the organization especially needs larger sizes for teenage boys.
“I’ve never had to worry if my kids will have socks or shoes,” said Holmes. “Because we have so much, we do need to give, and Signal Mountain has been wonderful about coming in every summer.”
The Holmeses will be collecting donations at 517 throughout the month of August. They ask donors to keep the shoes inside the boxes, where they can also include a note for the recipient.
Jeff Price of J & S Shoes said he will offer customers purchasing shoes to donate at 517 an additional 10-percent discount for clearance shoes already marked down 40 percent.