August 30, 2010

Guinness World Record for the Longest Chain of Shoes

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.



Each pair of shoes represents a child in need

August 20, 2010

By Chelsea Wade, Buckner Ministries Coordinator for South Main

The “Shoes for Orphan Souls” shoe drive has taken on a new meaning for me since my trip to Peru last December. Before the trip I was familiar with flyers, pamphlets, articles, DVDs, and the stories that others told me. I became acquainted with the process of preparing shoes and packing them with the rest of the congregation each year. I knew that there were children in other countries who received the shoes after we lovingly packed them. I also knew that I would learn more than I could imagine by placing shoes on their feet.

During my trip to Peru last year I learned the process of picking out a pair of shoes for a child. I experienced the importance of placing them on a child’s feet. I was inspired by the joy that came from watching a child marvel at them. I was humbled by the result of each interaction.

In these moments I understood the impact of shoe drives firsthand. As our shoe drive continues I want each of us to remember our purpose. I want each of us to remember that each pair symbolically represents a child in need.

Thank you for your continued support of Shoes for Orphan Souls, a program of Buckner International Ministries.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday at Sole Chain, our World Record Breaking Event at South Main Baptist Church.  The excitement starts at 9:00 a.m. Join us as we have some fun shattering the world record for the Longest Chain of Shoes.  But most importantly, we will be making a difference in the life of over 10,000 orphans.

New shoes make an impact

August 19, 2010

Shoes for Orphan Souls

This year marks the 10th anniversary of South Main’s participation in the Buckner “Shoes for Orphan Souls” project. There are an estimated 145 million orphans around the world at this time. There are many needs and the shoe project is one way to meet a need.

It is difficult for most of us to imagine how a new pair of shoes can make an impact. But for children living in desperate circumstances, this simple act of kindness is life changing. A new pair of shoes and socks can brighten their darkest days.

Children were a special part of the earthly ministry of Christ Jesus. Jesus told his disciples, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” He then took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. But for millions of children time is running out to receive a blessing. These children who will never know the love of parents, who may never know the love of Christ. They need a blessing now.

Thanks to the generosity of South Mainer’s over 60,000 pairs of new shoes have been sent to orphan children around the world. Can you imagine the joy and happiness experienced by so many children? In celebrating South Main’s anniversary, we once again have an opportunity to show these children that someone does care.

For more information on this year’s Sole Chain Guinness World Record Breaking Event and how you can help Shoes for Orphan Souls, go to www.solechain.org.