Leader Blues

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

TOP STORY >> Soles for Souls helps Beebe students

By JEFFREY SMITH
Leader staff writer

Nearly 200 Beebe public school students will have new shoes for the start of the school year with the help of First Baptist Church in Beebe.

The church on 1001 Hwy. 64 West held its second community Soles for Souls shoe program Saturday morning.

Students from pre-K to 12th grade could choose from 546 pairs of shoes on tables set up in the church. The shoes were grouped for boys and girls and divided by shoe sizes.

In of 90 minutes, 191 pairs of shoes were distributed to families in need.

Sandra Eubanks, director of the Soles for Souls shoe program, said the giveaway had been a success considering the rain.

“It is a blessing to see the kids go with smiles on their faces,” Eubanks said.

The shoes were either bought by church members or were donated. Youngsters could choose from a range of athletic shoes brands, styles and colors.

Chairs were arranged for the children to try on the shoes to find the right fit.

They could also pick up a free pair of flip-flops and a teddy bear or a stuffed animal if they wanted.

The event was organized to let a small number of children with their parents choose their shoes at one time. A waiting area was held in the sanctuary.

The program helped families replace shoes their children have outgrown or needed who could not buy new shoes otherwise.

Electa Jiminez, who was at the church Saturday, said, “I think this program is awesome. There are a lot of families who need this.”

Pastor Bob Hall arrived to the church a few hours before the shoe distribution started at 9 a.m. He said, “I had someone in the parking lot at 6:30 in the morning.”

Hall said last year the church gave away 500 pairs of shoes. The church had some shoes left over and decided to have the shoe day once again.

Hall said that during the past year, several families came to the church in need of shoes.

Around 75 church volunteers helped on Friday and Saturday, sorting and arranging shoes, and helping families choose shoes.

Shane Henson is a house framer with a family of four. Henson’s children will have new shoes for school thanks to the Soles for Souls program.

“I love it. It really helps us out. Work has been hit and miss. With the economy nobody is building right now. I have worked one month for the whole summer trying to live off one $400 check every two weeks,” Henson said.

He added, “They have good shoes here that will last.”

Kain Whitehouse, 13, will be attending junior high in a few weeks. He said, “It is a great day. I am stoked to get new shoes.”

Latisha Brewer has a family of five with three girls.

She said, “I think it is a wonderful thing for Beebe. With the economy like it is, it is important to have people in the community who care.”

For Beebe students whose families were unable to make Saturday’s shoe program, the church office will have shoes available for those who need them.

For more information call 501-882-3342.