As the weather dips into bitterly cold temperatures, the Conway community, with help through True Holiness Church, the UCA Athletic Department and Samaritan’s Feet, has dedicated time to give away 300 pairs of shoes to people in need on Sunday from 3-7 p.m. at True Holiness Church.
The money for the donation was raised by the UCA Athletic Department, who is working through the organization Samaritan’s Feet.
Samaritan’s Feet is an organization that strives to give pairs of shoes to those in need and has specific programs that work through sports to achieve the organization’s goals. The university has participated in "Barefoot for Bare Feet" in previous years. This is an event in which coaches around UCA will coach without shoes to support the organization. Thousands of coaches have participated in the event across the nation and has helped Samaritan’s Feet raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.
True Holiness Church will host the event Sunday. Tim Ester, a deacon of the church, said the idea sprung up from Samaritan’s Feet through UCA.
"They contacted UCA Athletics who got ahold of us and we are all working together," he said.
Ester said UCA Athletics usually raises five thousand dollars or more for events such as these. He said people from different groups will come to collect the shoes.
"We are just trying to help needy families," he said. "We donate [some of the shoes] to schools. People are coming from Bethlehem House and senior citizen programs. Most of the people coming will be from the elementary schools."
He said Samaritan’s Feet is trying to hand out one million pairs of shoes in 10 years and that the organization follows athletes around the world while trying to reach out to a million kids. He said the handing out of shoes and socks is to try to help others.
"We are trying to serve the community [through servitude]," he said.
Samaritan’s Feet teams up with certain athletes to raise money for shoes. The organization’s website specifically mentions that the NBA is a partner of Samaritan’s Feet. Certain NFL players, for example Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers, also participate. Smith is considered "Samaritan’s Feet Football Ambassador." Smith was to walk around the football stadium and locker room barefoot after all of this season’s games.
He was also spotted in New Orleans washing the feet of needy children while also providing them with new pairs of shoes during the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. On Jan. 30, Smith will host a fundraiser called "Kick Off Your Shoes" in New Orleans.
He said he hopes to leave his legacy in the community and to provide more than 500 pairs of shoes at the event. He also hopes to wash the feet of those in need again.