PRAISE REPORT (2019)
From the Child's Perspective - First Pair of Shoes
The very first child S2S helped was Daniel (pseudonym). Daniel was a 4th grader in Union County, NC. Daniel's teacher Mrs. R. noticed that Daniel was pretty unhappy most days during school. The other kids were nice to him and shared lunches and recess snacks with him, but he never really looked like he was happy. One day Mrs. R took Daniel to the school nurse's office. You see, Daniel was wearing shoes that were 2 sizes too small. He had cut the toes out so he could get a little more room.
The school nurse couldn't believe one of the kids in her school was suffering so badly because of a pair of shoes. She took a picture and shared it with her family. The family couldn't believe it either. They made the decision together to buy a few pairs of shoes for the young man. Within a couple of hours, Daniel had two brand new pairs of shoes. He tried them on; he was absolutely relieved and beaming.
Daniel returned the next day to his school and told Mrs. R that he even slept in his new shoes. He had NEVER had a new pair of shoes in his entire 9-year-old life. He had always gotten hand-me-downs from his cousins and siblings. He felt so much love from his school and this small gesture. The family was so moved that they held a big community outreach and a few short years later, Sole 2 Soul Ministries officially began.
S2S has continually helped him and his brother and sister for the last 2 years, and the children continue to thrive with the support and shoes received!
That's what LOVE is. Giving support when it's needed. And that's what Jesus wanted for all of us to do, to love.
From a Parent's Perspective
Our friend Michael is a single dad raising four children in the Reid Park Area of Charlotte, North Carolina. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Dream Center was holding an outreach in his neighborhood, and Michael had signed his kids up to get Sole2Soul shoes the week before knowing that it would help his family budget a lot. Children grow fast, and for a family of 4, the annual cost of clothing or shoes can be thousands of dollars. Basic necessities like shoes and clothes and toiletries are not provided by government assistance, only food, formula, housing, and utilities.
When Michael and his family arrived at the outreach, he was somewhat skeptical. He was not so sure because seeking help can be oftentimes disappointing and embarrassing for those who need it most. He confessed that he didn’t believe that he could get this critical help without there being a catch. In his experience, he had participated in similar outreaches or sought out help from other groups claiming that they wanted to help, but he hadn’t seen the follow-through. This is unfortunately sometimes the case for churches and shelters and community organizations — they want to help with these basic needs like shoes and socks, but don’t always have the funding or resources to do so. Partnering with Sole 2 Soul allows these needs to be met.
When it was his family’s turn to come and receive their shoes and socks, Michael heard the volunteers ask him, “Can we wash the kids’ feet, pray with them, and talk to them about Jesus?” Michael said, “I’m okay with it, but it really is up to the kids.”, The children nodded. As the kids were sitting and talking to the volunteers, the volunteers were praying over them and washing their feet. Then, more volunteers came smiling with the shoes.
Michael and the kids were moved to see that their names had been written in each pair, accompanied with a personalized note inside each pair. He could see that there had been a lot of thought and care put into the gift of the shoes.
He asked the Soul 2 Soul volunteer, “Wait, why would this Sole 2 Soul organization care so much about my children? They don’t even know them, but they wrote each of my kids’ names down inside a pair of shoes?”
He was so moved that he was in tears. He explained that until today, he had felt like he was forgotten and that he couldn’t get any help in Reid Park. No one visited, no one cared. Until today. Reid Park North Carolina is a neighborhood where the median household income is only one-third of that of all of Charlotte, North Carolina and is predominately Black with some Hispanic, Asian, and White populations. Michael finally felt loved and accepted and blessed. He could see the love of Jesus through the blessing of Sole 2 Soul volunteers. The volunteers were showing that they cared for them now with the gift of the shoes, but that they also cared for his future. Michael and his children left full of hope that only comes through Jesus Christ.