New shoes a new experience


Mycoskie's message prompts show project

by Myra Holmes

Some 626 children at Houston Elementary, Visalia, Calif., received new shoes Dec. 8 through the efforts of Fresno Pacific University (FPU), the Mennonite Brethren school on the West Coast; Neighborhood Church, an MB congregation in Visalia; and KDUV Christian radio.

“Soled Out for Kids” was inspired by FPU’s annual business forum Oct. 27, which featured Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes. TOMS gives one pair of shoes to a needy child for every pair sold.

Neighborhood Church was invited to be part of the project because they have an ongoing partnership with Houston Elementary, a school in a high-poverty neighborhood. FPU and KDUV spearheaded and funded the project; Neighborhood provided about 30 volunteers. About six weeks before the “shoe drop,” volunteers traced the feet of every child at Houston in order to get correct sizes, and then they helped on delivery day.

For many Houston students, it was the first time they had chosen a new pair of shoes. Stephanie Bartsch, missional strategist at Neighborhood, points out that it was a small demonstration of grace—a gift undeserved, unearned and offered to all.

Links to local coverage:

The Visalia Times-Delta:

FPU's press release about the event:


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