Soles for Souls
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One country, four villages in four different directions, ten days and 1,415 pairs of shoes.
Laurie Neff, activities clerk at Albert Lea High School, was collecting shoes for a program called Soles for Jesus out of Madison, Wisc. She started her collection in April 2016 and had to send them to Wisconsin in June. Even with a short amount of time, Neff was able to collect 1,415 pairs of shoes thanks to the help from family members, church members and the community. With a garage full of shoes, with sizes varying from shoes for toddlers to large shoes for adult men.
“Every time I would go home I’d find shoes on my doorstep,” Neff said.
After a long wait, background checks and an interview her acceptance letter came and how she will be traveling to Kenya, Africa. The shoes she has collected will be waiting for her to distribute to those in need. Neff will be departing on Dec. 26 and will be in Africa for 10 days before returning. Once there she will be visiting four different villages and an orphanage. She will also be putting shoes on the feet of the children she visits, have a prayer and then do an activity with the children. Neff is thrilled to be a part of this one of a kind experience.
“I’m excited to be going there and seeing their faces and watch the feet,” Neff said.
Many countries in the world suffer from severe poverty, some can’t even afford food let alone shoes. Soles for Jesus, collects shoes and holds a mission trip for those shoes to be distributed to those in need. This program emphasizes the importance of shoes as, people can get cuts on their feet which could later evolve to infections than amputations and in some cases lead to death. Neff says this fact always tugged at her heart and it’s been years since she thought of helping those who needed shoes.
“Every time I’d see something on TV or see somebody without shoes it just kinda tugs at your heart,” said Neff.
Neff is anxiously waiting for the day of her departure to come. She is also considering getting ALHS students involved next year.