City leaders in one north St. Louis County community declared Sunday, July 16, a special day: Love Ferguson Day. To help celebrate, an international organization helped spread a little love to children in the Ferguson-Florissant School District with its Shoes of Hope campaign.
“We are an international non-profit that provides shoes for needy children around the world. And the real message is hope and encouragement. The shoes will be gone in a year. But hopefully the message of hope and encouragement we give them will last a lifetime,” said Terry Tolbert, Executive Director of Marketing and Development for Samaritan’s Feet.
That message was heard loud and clear Sunday by hundreds of children who were given a new pair of shoes.
“The top five things that the schools have noted that kids need to succeed in school, in that list are socks and shoes,” added Tolbert.
In a humbling gesture of service, more than 150 volunteers with Samaritan’s Feet and First Bank washed the feet of the shoe recipients.
“It's the memory and the connection that you get. It makes you comfortable with each other and the conversation can start,” said volunteer Amy Schumacher.
“It’s a beautiful biblical reference, it really is,” added Schumacher’s husband, Tim.
While the foot rubs were something new for most, the idea of a long, happy and successful life is something everyone here believes in.
“What I hope they walk away with today is hope, the ability to dream, the ability to know their dreams can come true,” said Karen Dickson, Assistant Vice President, Community Reinvestment Act Officer for First Bank.
Samaritan's Feet holds giveaways like Sunday's around the world. So far this year the group has given away more than 16,000 pairs of shoes.