PIQUA — The Rotary Club of Piqua is helping to put new shoes on the feet of those that need them most.
Through the work of local Rotarian Don Smith, the ocal Rotary Club is actively involved in collecting money to buy shoes for Rotary International’s “Shoes for Orphan Souls” project. Through this project, Rotary International has been collecting shoes since 2014 when it joined the Buckner International “Shoes for Orphan Souls” humanitarian project, which has been in existence since 1999. The local club has been participating since 2015.
Since 1999, “Shoes for Orphan Souls” have distributed more than 3 million pairs of new shoes and socks to vulnerable children in more than 82 countries. The Shoes for Orphan Souls website states that “Shoes, just as good medicine and food, can have a great impact on children’s lives. Shoes protect against disease and infection; and in many developing countries, children walk barefoot in muddy, rocky terrain to gather clean water or go to school. There are also parasites and diseases, including hookworm, jiggers and tetanus, that can enter the body through cuts in the feet. These illnesses can stunt a child’s growth and development, as well as cause lifelong mental damage. The lack of shoes can also be a barrier to school attendance. Many schools around the world require children to wear shoes to attend, but for many poverty-stricken families, shoes are a luxury they cannot afford. Studies also show that children who are healthy are more likely to be successful in school and have higher attendance, increasing their chances of obtaining an education and rising out of poverty. Shoes can demonstrate worth and God’s love to orphans and vulnerable children. Typically, children in orphanages share everything — they do not have a single possession of their own. New shoes provide hope for these children telling them that someone out there cares about them and loves them unconditionally. So, when you donate a pair of new shoes through this program, the shoe’s will be received by one of the world’s most vulnerable children. And while Shoes for Orphan Souls serves children all over the world, 30 percent of our shoes stay in the United States, offering hope to children in communities just like yours.”
This year, Piqua’s local Rotary Club will donate 147 pairs of shoes and 100 pairs of socks, which will be added to those that are collected from Rotary Clubs throughout Rotary District 6670.
Piqua’s Rotary Club is about giving back whether it is locally through members’ work with the Miami County Dental Clinic, having a weekly “Rotary Reader” at Washington and Springcreek Primary schools or internationally through their work in 2017 providing homes to families in need in Haiti with the “Homes for the Holidays” fundraiser, where the organization was able to build 10 homes in Haiti after the destruction there from the 2010 earthquake, and through its yearly Shoes for Orphan Souls project.
The club’s theme, which is always set by the Rotary International president for 2018-19, is “Be the Inspiration.” Through this theme, Rotarians are asked to inspire change in the world and in each other. President Barry Rassin asked all Rotarians to “Be the Inspiration to help Rotary move from reaction to action — to take a hard look at the environmental issues that affect health and welfare around the world and do what we can to help.”