WILLIAMSBURG — Each year since 2011, Shoes 4 the Soul has served hundreds of children from local elementary schools by washing their feet, telling them the Gospel, playing games with them and sending them home with a clean pair of socks, brand new shoes, and a new backpack stuffed with school supplies. This year, all of that is the same, minus the school supplies. Instead, Appalachian Ministries (AM), who hosts Shoes 4 the Soul, will be giving the children hygiene items like toothpaste, deodorant, washcloths, soap and shampoo.
“By the time college students are on campus to help run the Shoes 4 the Soul, the elementary schools we serve have already begun classes,” said Jasmine Newport, director of AM. “The kids already have the necessary school supplies at that point. As the AM team has gotten to know these kids through the years, we’ve noticed a need for basic hygiene items. This year, we want to meet that need and help these kids stay clean, happy and healthy.”
Shoes 4 the Soul is scheduled for Friday, August 30 on Cumberlands’ campus. Approximately 500 children from Williamsburg Independent, Boston Elementary, Pleasant View Elementary, Whitley North Elementary, Whitley East Elementary and Oak Grove Elementary will be participating.
“I honestly love this event,” said Newport. “It’s the perfect opportunity to interact with the kids while showing them the love of Jesus! I think the hygiene items will have a great impact on these children’s lives as well. We want them to know that we really care about them.”
All Cumberlands students participate in community service each semester as part of Cumberlands’ mission of serving others. Shoes 4 the Soul offers a chance for the students to learn more about their new community while putting smiles on the faces of local children.
Purchasing shoes and hygiene items for 500 children is no small feat. Appalachian Ministries relies on donations in order to host all of their events, from summer camps to Christmas ministries, and especially large events like Shoes 4 the Soul. Cumberlands has set up a sponsorship program online to help ensure that each child who attends the event is covered.
“The money isn’t going to the AM team,” said Newport, “it’s going directly to the shoes we put on the kids’ feet, the toothpaste we provide to brush their teeth, the shampoo we give them to wash their hair.”
It costs just $30 to provide shoes, socks and hygiene items for a child at Shoes 4 the Soul. (The smiles they get by having fun with “cool college kids” is just a bonus.) To sponsor a child, visit ucumberlands.edu/shoes4soul.