KIRKSVILLE – The Fellowship Baptist Church here reached out to the kids in the Head Start program, located just a few blocks from their facility with an outreach event in mid-May providing for several physical as well as spiritual needs.
They arranged to have a free pair of shoes provided for every child who attended their annual “Shoes From the Heart” giveaway. In addition to a free pair of new athletic shoes, the kids could get health, dental, vision and hearing screenings. Professionals from health organizations in the community set up booths to offer their services.
The church had a booth promoting their upcoming Vacation Bible School. The pastor and some of the Fellowship members also shared the Gospel using the “Evangecube” witnessing tool and an evangelistic colored soccer ball which has colors on it representing different Gospel concepts.
“It was a good opportunity to share Christ’s love, to have Gospel conversations and to build relationships,” said Pastor Larry Gibson.
“Kids get excited to get a brand new pair of shoes. A lot of these kids usually receive hand-me-down shoes or a used pair from a thrift store,” he added.
The church partners with a charity, based in nearby Macon, called “Shoes From The Heart.”
The organization describes itself as a place where they help “local children in need.”
Founder and director, Donnie Bonuchi, said it started in 2012 when he and his late wife, Cindy, were talking after a Sunday school class about how they could help area kids in need. They determined almost any kid needs a new pair of shoes from time to time.
They began the charity and have since branched out to work all across Missouri distributing free shoes to kids and providing partners with the opportunity to share the Gospel with the kids and parents as they distribute them.
Promotional material from Shoes From The Heart says, “We are continuing to expand throughout the Midwest and have been blessed to have the support of regional communities and organizations helping us on our journey.”
Gibson said, “We worked through the Head Start organization so we knew the kids coming were needy kids.”
The church arranged with the Kirksville Fire Department to have a fire truck outside the door with firefighters doing fire safety instruction. Inside there were games and activities for the kids as well as all the organization booths where parents could stop by with the kids to check on vision, dental, hearing and medical needs in the screening stations. And, of course, there were hot dogs to eat and drinks available.
Bobbie Bansal, the church ministry assistant, said they had 12 kids sign up for Vacation Bible School at the event, all kids who do not currently attend the church. She said there were 50 children who came through the event that night.
For more information on the Shoes From The Heart organization, check their website at: www.shoesfromtheheart.org.