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"A little child shall lead them" Isaiah 11:6

by Jack Williams

 

 

Several days ago Ruth and Jacob showed up on our front  porch with a plastic ziplock

bag which contained piggy bank money and a bag of shoes. You will also notice that

Ruth & Jacob are holding a note which  indicates that they want their money and shoes

to help others. It sounds like they have talked their parents into collecting shoes from

our neighbor hood, one street at a time. The children and parents have formulated a plan

to "attack the neighborhood" with flyers, emails, door-to-door communications, and CP

brochures. They will also participate in the Hancock County shoe, food and personal

hygiene giveaway on November 14th.

 

 

 

 

 

I'm Hannah, and I'm changing the world to feed at a time!

by Hannah Ashby

 

My name is Hannah Ashby and I will be a junior in high school this coming fall.

I can Pete many scholarship pageant Square community service is a very

important part of a titleholders life. Earlier this year I was crowned USA National

Miss Hoosier State Team 2016. With this title, I wanted to reach out to as many

people as possible by taking part in many community service projects.One of the

organizations that, I was the changing footprints organization. I decided to take

up a collection at my school and church. Because of the generosity of those in my

community, I was able to collect over 600 pairs of shoes, helping better the lives

of those in need. I'm Hannah, and I'm changing the world to feed at a time!

 

What a beautiful story! It is the big hearts of people like Hannah that make it possible for

CHANGING FOOTPRINTS to distribute over 100,000 pair of shoes. Hannah and her mother

drove 2 pick up trucks from Washington Indiana delivering 606 pair of shoes!!!! Thank you Hannah, her mother Angie, and Nick Parsons!!

 

Our Somerset, KY mission trip was not planned by us

by Jack Williams

 

My wife and I had plans of traveling to Washington State with a church group to deliver 200 pair of Changing Footprints shoes. We were also helping to rehab a church and participate in VBS for 134 Orphans from the Elwha and Makah Nations Native American tribes. But destiny showed her hand.

 

Just as we started to leave West Chicago we received an emergency call that our 49 year old son had just suffered a massive heart attack. He was in guarded condition in the ICU, waiting for a systemic infection to be brought under control before a quadruple bypass could be performed.

 

While waiting in the hospital I had the pleasure of meeting the Hospital Chaplain & the Director of Hospital Ministries. Our conversations went as one might expect, always ending on the subject of poverty in Kentucky, Indiana and surrounding areas where jobs are difficult to find and life is difficult for many. During these discussions we talked about how Changing Footprints worked and that shoes are free of charge.

 

While in the hospital waiting rooms, cafeteria, hallways I couldn't help but notice that many adults and children did not have adequate shoes. Then I realized, Changing Footprints could help! I met with the Chaplin and the Director of Hospital Ministries and asked, "If I delivered shoes to the hospital could they ensure the shoes would find a pair of feet?" They both looked astonished. Because of my son's condition they knew I would be making additional trips back to Kentucky. They asked if Changing Footprints would like to participate in Somerset's "Back To School Extravaganza." They give away backpacks, pens, paper, notebooks, markers, rulers, erasers, very nice discount coupons, and provide information on available state and local informational assistance. Of course we accepted.

On August 6th my wife and I distributed 200 pairs of very nice “back to school” shoes. Within 50 minutes, 90% of the shoes had appreciative new owners. Changing Footprints has been invited to participate in the 2017 Somerset, KY "Back To School Extravaganza".

 

As an FYI, we didn’t forget about the Elwha and Makah Nations. They received their Changing Footprints shoes in 7 large boxes containing approximately 280 pairs. They were delivered via FedEx to Washington, courtesy of my neighbor Tim W.

 

 

The Sharing Place & Zion Lutheran Church- Out Reach Ministries

by Jack Williams

 

I feel compelled to pass on just one short story about the impact Changing

Footprints is/has had on our clients at our food and clothing pantry called

“The Sharing Place” in Indianapolis, IN. Several weeks ago I was assisting

another volunteer by placing donated shoes on our shoe racks when a lady

in her 30’s came up and asked how many pairs of shoes she could have. Our

policy is/was 2 pairs of shoes and a pair of boots a year for children 18 years

and younger. She smiled and turn toward her business of shoe selections.

 

A few minutes later she was sitting on the floor in front the shoe racks with

4 or 5 pairs of shoes in her arms CRYING! I asked if I could help; her reply

was as follows…..”You don’t know how much this means to our family….I have

5 children at home, my husband is out of work due to an industrial hydraulic

press accident to his hands …. We have almost no money left..….We will

probably lose our house… The government and insurance company are not

helping! ….Too much red tape.  This place has been a God sent blessing. Thank You to all involved, you have made a difference in our families’ well-being. It is wonderful knowing there are people who still care”.

FYI… After receiving the shoes and food she came back inside said her car would not start, she was out of gas and had no money. I believe a Good Samaritan {pantry volunteer} helped her with a few gallons of gasoline.

 

As a volunteer, I thank Changing Foot Prints for going that extra mile also being so willing to help facilitate additional shoe needs in our community.

 

Painful Feet Needing Shoes 

by Maureen Sheehan Leisure

 

At the beginning of school year 2014, I had a call from a parent who was requesting a pair of shoes for her 13 yr-old son.  She had no money to buy shoes for him and he had experienced a great growth spurt over the summer, resulting in shoes that were much too small for him.  She wanted them that night, but I was unable to help with his size that night.  He wore his old shoes to school and then came to my house with his mother after the first day.  

I had pulled out 4 pairs of shoes that I felt would fit him and was ready when they arrived.  His face lit up when he saw the shoes lined up.  He sat down on the floor and took off the old worn shoes that he had worn that day. (no socks).  I was heartsick when I saw his feet.  Every toe had a blister on it and there were red sores on both feet from the shoes.  I gave him 6 pairs of new socks and he pulled a pair on and began trying on the shoes.  The pair that he really wanted was just a smidge too big, but another pair fit him perfectly.  I could see that he was disappointed, not getting the pair he really liked.  I told him that he might as well take both pairs so that he would have a pair when he outgrew the ones he was wearing.  He said “thank you” over and over, and his mother told me that I just didn’t know how much it meant to them, wiping away tears as they left.  I was a ball of emotion, wiping away my own tears when they were gone.  I started this mission and worked on it for 9 years, packing and shipping, boxing and delivering.  However, this was the first time that I, personally, had seen and touched the feet receiving the shoes.  I was truly the one blessed that day.  

 

It’s Not All About Shoes-Shoes Provide a New Outlook

by Joni Leisure Degner        

 

I’m a teacher at Columbus East High School in Columbus, Indiana. Last June Columbus was devastated by a flood. While many of us watched coverage of the flood on the news, many of my students were trying to gather up possessions, pets, and memories and heading for higher ground. When the school year started, I had students living with friends, in hotels, and in FEMA trailers. For some families, a little construction and a little time helped them get right back on their feet, but that was not the case for all. One boy in my class came from a family who just could not seem to find their way after being devastated by the flood. His house had been destroyed, and his father had lost his job.  This student was coming to class every day wearing shorts, a t-shirt that had the sleeves cut off, and shoes that had gaping holes in the toes–not nearly enough clothing for Indiana’s fall and winter. He might have gone unnoticed by most but began receiving a good deal of attention when his surly attitude and disruptive behavior became a problem in most of his classes. He was becoming a familiar fixture in the administration office.

 

A few teachers got together and decided to do what they could for this student. One teacher was able to give money. Another was able to give clothing that had belonged to her teenage son. His counselor made sure he had a backpack and supplies for school. There was one problem. His parents could not afford to buy him the shoes he needed-size 15 1/2, and no one else seemed to be able to locate shoes in this size either. When I heard about this, I was so excited to say that I knew exactly where he could get shoes in that size. I called my mom, founder of Changing Footprints, and told her this kid’s story, and the next day, she gave me two practically brand new pairs of Nike tennis shoes for him to try on. The University of Illinois basketball team donates shoes each year to Changing Footprints, so coming up with a size 15 1/2 was no problem. My intention was for him to be unaware of where they came from, but one day he appeared at my classroom and stood outside my door. When I stepped out, he said, “You did this?” and nodded to his shoes. I smiled and told him I had a line on shoes when they were needed. HE smiled at me and said ‘thank you,” still in disbelief that he received such a kindness from someone who had sent him to the hallway, detention, and the office. This was the first time I had seen him smile. He turned to start down the hall, then turned back and said “I’m gonna do better.” I smiled and nodded and felt very confident that he indeed would do better.

 

Each day I see those shoes walk in and out of my classroom, and each day I see a life that has been changed by something as simple as a pair of shoes.

 

Grandpa’s Shoes

 

A woman came to us at the Columbus Race with two large boxes of shoes.  She was an elderly woman and we unloaded the boxes from her car.  We thanked her profusely, but she seemed intent on staying and talking to us, telling us how nice the shoes were and how clean they were.  Then she went a little further and told us that her husband had passed away about six months ago and his things were still in their closet.  She saw our article in the paper and decided that this was the time.  She called her young grandson and had him bring all the shoes downstairs, get out the polish and help her clean and polish every pair before boxing them up.  She felt sure her husband would have been very proud of them for doing that and I’m quite sure he was.

 

Little Ones Around the Corner

 

A little 10-yr-old Girl Scout from Houston Texas saw us at the Indy 500 Mini Marathon and when she got home, she looked at our website and saw all the pictures of the children.  She starting collecting shoes all by herself and accumulated 50 pairs.  She emailed me and asked me how to get the shoes to me.  I told her that there are people everywhere in the world that need our help, even in Texas.   I contacted a children’s crisis center less than a mile from her home that she and her parents did not know existed.  The director explained that when the children came to them, they usually only had a blanket wrapped around them.  He said he would love to have the shoes and agreed to meet the little girl and her parents and make them feel the gratitude and blessing of their humanitarian gift.

 

Finding Peace

 

At the Indy 500 Mini Marathon, a woman asked specifically to speak with me.  I put down the shoes I was sorting and went to the table to meet the woman.  She was a well-dressed, middle-aged woman carrying a large tote bag in each hand.  She said, “My 17-yr-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver a year ago, and I have not been able to move anything in her room since then.  But when I saw the article in the paper about what you are doing, I knew Lauren would want me to give her shoes to you”  I took the tote bags and set them down; the woman and I embraced, and both of us cried.  I thanked her and she thanked me, and then she turned around and blended into the crowd of thousands.  I still have one of those tote bags and I’ll never forget her.  I felt so blessed to think that I may have had some little tiny piece in this woman’s healing process and her search for peace.

 

Raising Humanitarians

 

A family from Danville Illinois was at the Indy 500 Mini Marathon in 2006; the parents were runners in the event.  When they returned home, the daughters looked up our website and wanted to do something for us.  They were having a combined birthday party for the two daughters and invited lots of people.  These wonderful girls asked all of their guests not to bring presents – but to bring new or gently used shoes to donate!  They sent an email to ask how to get the shoes to me and again, I pointed out that there are people right near them that need the shoes.  I located a homeless shelter not far from them and they were really excited to take them over to them.  I thanked them, they thanked me, and the shelter thanked us all.

 

A Living Memorial

 

Our first year at the Indy 500, we challenged passers-by to give us the shoes off their feet – to become our “barefoot soles.”  We took their pictures giving us their shoes and put them on the internet.  It was great fun watching them walk away in their socks.  Friends teased each other and razzed each other to do it; it was great fun.  One young man was walking by, and I challenged him to give me the shoes off his feet.  He replied,  “No, I didn’t think so.”  I assured him that they would end up on the feet of someone who really needed them, and then we began to explain our mission and our goals.  He stared up at the ceiling silently and it was obvious that something was going on with him.  Finally, he looked back down, set his things down on the floor, and looked up at me. Then he explained.  It seems that his roommate (Matt) who had gone on missionary trips to Haiti two years in a row wanted him to go with him the following year and he agreed. Two months after Matt’s return that year from Haiti, he was diagnosed with advanced leukemia.  In spite of aggressive treatment, his health continued to decline. When it was time for the Haiti trip, Matt was extremely weak, but the young man had promised his friend he would go, and they did make that trip together.  He told me that many of the people over there remembered Matt from his previous trips and they were distressed to see him so ill. But Matt couldn’t get the huge grin off his face. Just before boarding the bus to leave to come home, Matt took off his shoes and handed them to one of the local men. When the man resisted, Matt laughingly pushed him back and hugged the man when he tried to refuse.  Then he boarded the bus with his friend.  He was buried three weeks later.  His friend now stood here in front of me and said, “There’s nothing else for me to do.”  He bent over and untied his shoes and pulled them off, handed them to me, picked up his sacks and walked away toward the exit.  From the back I saw his hand go up to his face and brush across his cheek, and then I realized that I was standing there hugging his shoes to my chest with tears rolling down my face.  Neither of us had any idea what that chance encounter would hold for us that day, but because of the higher power that leads us, I know that wasn’t a “chance” encounter.

 

Help Around the World

 

I received an email from the cousin of a young woman in Iraq who had just arrived as a replacement at a medical clinic.  While the clinics are there to treat American troops, Iraqi citizens, many of them children, are all too often caught in the crossfire or roadside bombings and are brought to the clinic for care.  Because clothing usually has to be cut off the injured, the clinic tries to keep a supply of clothing and shoes to replace them, but the previous unit did not replenish the stock and they were now out of these items. It was going to take the government six to eight weeks to replace these supplies. She was so distressed by this and her cousin was hoping that we  could help out.  The email was forwarded to contacts who arranged for a large shipment of children’s and infants’ clothing. Changing Footprints shipped approximately 200 pairs of children’s and infants’ shoes.  Anna emailed her thanks and said that a unit had stopped there on their way to a Baghdad clinic and had shared some supplies.  We all felt so good about responding to military personnel who are trying to help make a difference in the lives of these people suffering such violence and turmoil in their homeland.  

Personal Stories

IMG_6500 Hannah Ashby Ruth-&-Jacob