Thursday, November 5, 2009
Soles 4 kids- share a little, help a lot
Can you imagine what it would be like to be a school child who not only faces the challenges of homework and making friends, but faces the added stress of no permanent home at the end of the day? In the School District of Lancaster, located in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, approximately hundreds of homeless children struggle to attend school each year, with burgeoning needs significant enough to warrant a district-wide Homeless Office which acts as a clearinghouse for concerns such as clothing, health care and meals.
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (TLC), located in the heart of the city, borders some of the area of greatest need. TLC became aware of children who could not attend classes regularly because they lacked shoes. Others were wearing ill-fitting shoes simply to be able to attend. As a part of its mission to be a Tender Loving Congregation, TLC Community Outreach Committee members devised a new venture, Soles 4 Kids, to gather enough sneakers for each child in need to have a pair. Inspired by members, Bob and Dorothy Cooper, on Sneaker Sunday, during worship services, children of the congregation went from pew to pew gathering the sneakers and funds and presenting them at the altar for blessing by Pastor Sadie Pounder. TLC collected 184 pairs of shoes and $2000.00 towards the purchase of additional sneakers or other items of need.
Both Bob Cooper and Ken Marzinko, Homeless Student Project facilitator noted “we expected a sizeable number of shoes, but the members’ generosity was overwhelming!” Enough has been provided to ensure shoes for all in need as well as funds for those who outgrow their uniforms or need other supplies. “It was amazing to see the joy in the faces of those who have, and of those who have received! What a wonderful witness!” The event is now envisioned as an annual component of the community outreach theme-“ Share a Little, Help a Lot,” which encompasses a variety of ways that TLC lives out the ELCA motto-“God’s work, our hands.”