The new clothes can make students feel better about themselves and, in turn, approach learning with positive attitudes. But there are many children in the local community who are not so fortunate. Many inner-city families are held together by single parents who are trying to survive, often with just enough money for food, rent and utilities but little left for anything else.
In 1993, recognizing the children’s needs, the late Becky Dewaal and Bertie Alligood began finding ways to provide shoes to a few children. First Baptist Church in Lebanon began contributing financially toward the ministry. Through the years, other nonprofits, churches, volunteers and businesses have joined in the ministry. Last year, about 375 pairs of new shoes, as well as new socks and underwear, were given to our children in need.
The Salvation Army partners with the shoe drive at the same location, Mary Chaffin Chapel, each year. Spanish translators from Renacer Church will be available for those who need the service. Sun Trust Bank is again a sponsor and will provide supplies. Volunteers with the Wilson County Phoebe Ministry will help with snacks, shoes and undergarment donations. Beginning with the passion and actions of one or two people and with hands reaching out from the local community, the ministry has continued to reach thousands of children in Wilson County each year.
As preparations are made for this year’s annual shoe drive and giveaway, volunteers recognize there continue to be many needs and anticipate giving away 450 pairs of shoes, in addition to socks and underwear, for school-age children. The goal is to raise funds to provide for these needs. First Baptist Church Lebanon has an account set up for donations under the name of annual Dewaal Shoe Drive. All gifts are tax deductible.
The actual shoe giveaway is scheduled for Friday from 4-6 p.m. at Mary Chaffin Church at 715 Lake Street in Lebanon. Anyone who wants to volunteer to help should arrive at 2 p.m. or as soon possible to check in given orientation. Shoes, undergarments and supplies will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Proof of Wilson County residence is required. School-age children must have a parent or adult with them to receive one pair of tennis shoes and undergarments, as supplies last. Snacks and drinks will be provided.
Donations for the shoe giveaway are preferred by Wednesday at First Baptist Church in Lebanon.
Suggested donations include:
• new tennis shoes, small sizes 10-3 for boys and girls.
• socks, toddler sizes to small children’s sizes.
• underwear, small sizes, bikini panties for girls and boxers for boys.
• refreshments such as cookies, etc.
• sacks, Kroger, Walmart, etc., in which to put the shoes, socks, etc.
• monetary donations, checks made out to First Baptist Church in Lebanon, designated for the shoe drive. Donations may be taken to the church office or mailed to 227 E. Main St., Lebanon TN 37087.
• time, come join in seeing children get a new pair of shoes.
• prayer for open hearts, and for volunteers to show God’s love to each person who comes. Altogether, there are probably close to 1,000 people who walk through the line and many want prayers for them and their needs. Most are English-speaking or Spanish-speaking. Translators will be available the whole time.
All gifts are tax deductible.