By Jennifer Gribble, South Main Member & Marketing Coordinator on August 21, 2010 after the Sole Chain event.
Well, it’s 6:37 p.m. and I have been struggling for a few hours to find the words to describe my experience today at the Sole Chain – Shoes for Orphan Souls event.
For those of you who don’t know, South Main Baptist Church broke the Guinness World Record today for the Longest Chain of Shoes. 20,110 were laid out in the church parking lot in Houston. Over 100 volunteers worked from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. to lay out the shoes, tie them together, pack the shoes, and then load them up on a truck that is going to Buckner International’s warehouse in Dallas. Buckner uses these new shoes as a part of the Shoes for Orphan Souls project.
I found myself driving home from the event this afternoon in complete silence (not the usual for me as I like to “rock out” when I drive) and the tears just started falling down my cheeks. I didn’t know why but I was just crying. I kept trying to figure out what was causing the tears and I realized that I am just overwhelmed.
I am overwhelmed…
by the generosity of South Main Baptist Church’s members.
by the Houston community who showed up to bring a pair of shoes and lend a hand in placing and packing the shoes.
the willingness of people to give up their Saturday to sweat in 110 degree heat index temperatures on a concrete parking lot.
that 10,055 orphans that will be blessed by these donations.
by the homeless man that came by to ask what was going on and then donated $5 to the cause.
by the commraderie shown by all the volunteers today.
by the people stay until ALL the work is done…the truck is packed, the trash is picked up, everything is loaded up.
most of all, by the emotion that changing the lives of so many orphans brings to me.
I have been a small part of the shoe drive since we joined South Main in 2001. This year, as the Marketing Coordinator at South Main, Sole Chain has been my focus at work over the past few months. I have spent hours and hours getting ready for the event, calling media, getting “coverage” for our event. All important tasks, but when it comes down to it, the real work is done by our volunteers who slaved away in the hot sun today.
Sole Chain is so much more than a publicity stunt. This is about the kids. I had to look through my 20+ pairs of shoes this morning to decide which pair of shoes that I would wear today. The children that receive these shoes don’t have any. This one pair of shoes will change their lives. It is as simple as that. Simple, but oh so deep.
My experience today has changed me. Softened my heart, opened my eyes, touched my soul. I just don’t know if I can find the words to describe it all. I would love for you to share your words from the event if you were there today with us all.
It was an amazing day.
Send shoes. See smiles. Save souls.