Pastors Tim and Beverly Smith, of First Assembly of God Church in Seadrift, have been searching several years to find a way to be a greater blessing to their community. Last year, they began giving school supplies to local school children in Calhoun County. This past year, they came up with a new idea after a lot of “sole” searching.
“We wanted to add something more, so we contacted Sole Mission, a ministry affiliated with the Assemblies of God,” said Beverly.
The organization, which has provided more than 1/2 million pairs of shoes to children across the country, traveled to the church in Seadrift in June for a training session with the Smiths and other volunteers. Participants trained in safety precautions and shoe sizing.
The giveaway will take place from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Sept. 20, at First Assembly of God Church of Seadrift, located at 501 S. Second St. (corner of Second and Dallas), in Seadrift. Shoes are given away on a first-come, first-serve basis. Colors, styles, and sizes are limited. The child must be present to be fitted and receive a pair of shoes. Participants must wear masks, and social distancing guidelines will be in place. Hand sanitizer will be available.
“There is no application process to receive a pair of shoes, but there will be registration. It will be available online and can be done on any smartphone once the people arrive,” said Beverly. “The shoes are primarily for school-aged children. There may be a few limited pairs for younger children.”
Each child will be given a clean pair of socks before trying on shoes. They will choose two pairs, and a trained volunteer will bring the shoes to them to try on. The church hopes to provide 250 pairs of shoes to children.
“Our target participants are all students who live in Seadrift; however, other students who attend CCISD may be included, depending on availability,” said Beverly. “Each student will receive one pair of new shoes.”
Sole Mission Director Alisa Ward said that every child who attends a Sole Mission event receives the undivided individual attention of a caring adult.
“New shoes are important and make an impact on the life of a child. However, the personal kindness and responsiveness Sole Mission volunteers show to kids who attend demonstrates their importance and worth,” said Ward. “Our volunteers receive hugs, hi-fives, and huge smiles not just because of the new shoes, but because of the care and tenderness the volunteers show to the kids.”
The church has supported Sole Mission through its monthly giving and a yearly ladies brunch, and all proceeds benefit Sole Mission. Student organizations that would like to assist with the event and receive community service hours are welcome. Group sponsors should contact Beverly Smith through Facebook or Messenger.
“A lady from our church, Tracey Johnson, was so impressed at what they did, she decided to have an online fundraiser through Facebook. She raised $650 in donations for Sole Mission,” said Beverly.
Alisa and her husband Kelly Ward, of Conroe, direct Sole Mission. The program provides a new, well-fitting pair of shoes to kids in need. The shoes come from donations of shoes and money donated by Assembly of God churches, women’s groups, men’s groups, teens, and organizations that are looking to support a worthwhile cause. The organization also provides new socks, provided by Bombas, when available. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has hosted 15 distributions since June with safety measures in effect.
Other local churches interested in hosting a shoe distribution through Sole Mission should contact www.solemission.org. Distributions are scheduled one year in advance.