For 20 years, Buckner International (the parent organization of Parkway Place, a faith-based senior living community in Houston) has donated nearly 4 million pairs of shoes to children in poverty-stricken countries.
Now, residents and associates of Parkway Place are taking part in the annual “Shoes for Orphan Souls” shoe drive, and the community invites the public to participate. The community asks anyone in the Houston area to donate money or new children’s-sized shoes to the senior living community at 1321 Park Bayou Drive.
Donations will benefit vulnerable children around the world by providing them with their own pair of shoes. Parkway Place will be collecting donations from Sunday, Feb. 10, until Thursday, Feb. 28. Chaplain John Bender is leading the project and set this year’s goal at 200 shoes, equal to about $5,000.
“This is my favorite project each year because it puts smiles on the faces of children around the world,” said Bender. “I’ve led this project for three years now, and each year it gets bigger and bigger. With this year being number 20, we want to collect 200 shoes to benefit the most vulnerable people in the world. We will be accepting new shoes for both boys and girls in all sizes. So next time you’re at the store pick up a pair of shoes that these children need. We also encourage people to think of older kids while they shop. I know that with the help of residents, associates and the city of Houston, we will meet our goal. We hold the shoe drive in February because we know people have love on their minds and in their hearts, so we need you to look in your heart and give the gift of love to these children by providing a new pair of shoes.”
About 30 percent of the shoes stay in the United States, which helps children in the Houston area, and the other 70 percent go to children in other countries. The new shoes will benefit the children’s daily lives in several ways, improving their health, allowing them to attend school and giving them hope. Since the shoe drive’s inception, children in 83 countries have benefited from this project.
“I am excited for Parkway Place to host another shoe drive to benefit children locally and around the world,” said Susan Phelps, executive director. “Through this drive, we can provide children with something many people tend to take for granted. This year, we are tracking the number of shoes we collect in a different way. A resident will be making wooden shoe boxes for each pair of shoes we collect, and we will have them on display at the community. It’s heartwarming to see the dedication of the Parkway Place team and residents who make this project successful. With everyone pitching in, we can make a difference in the lives of so many children.”