Shoes That Empower

Stateline Youth for Christ recently did a shoe drive. We rounded up around 3,000 pairs of shoes that came from a variety of places, from schools to businesses to churches. We were amazed at the immense amount of high-quality shoes that flooded our office. People did not view this as an opportunity to get rid of junky, heavily-worn shoes. Donors rather included shoes with great value, from fine-looking dress shoes to little-used athletic sneakers. I had to stop and ponder the thoughtfulness of young people who gave away fresh-looking pairs of Jordans, Steph Curry's, and Nikes. Their generosity is powerful!

We would like to thank everyone who contributed to this shoe drive, and the awesome thing is there are numerous positives to collecting all these shoes. We worked in partnership with Funds2Orgs, which is a for-profit social enterprise that creatively seeks to provide an economic opportunity for those in developing nations, while also helping raise funds for local organizations such as Stateline Youth for Christ.

Their website highlights how this works via shoe drives,

“The shoes you collect are consolidated by Funds2Orgs and shipped to developing nations around the world. In turn, the shoes are sold by micro-entrepreneurs who seek a hand-up, not a hand-out, from poverty.”

So not only will these thousands of shoes be directed to people in need, they also raise money for Youth for Christ’s work locally and empower people in developing nations through micro-entrepreneurs. (If you’d like to learn more of how this process works, you can click here to read specifics on the Funds2Orgs website.)

There is great beauty in this model of philanthropy. Many Christians are re-thinking effective models of charity. I have been sensitive to this after reading an influential book by Bob Lupton entitled Toxic Charity. Sometimes our well-intended efforts to care for others, centered upon hand-outs, can actually disempower and rob people of dignity. The shoe drive fundraising of Funds2Orgs is a socially responsible way to invest locally and wisely promote the welfare of those in developing countries.

And this fits perfectly with who we are at Stateline Youth for Christ. We long for our youth to be transformed by “new life” found in Jesus Christ, and we then pray this empowers them to serve Christ through the skills He has given them.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the shoe drive. It has been a “win” for everybody!