March 8, 2016 // 9:25 AM

Game On - Shoes Save Lives

Written by Scott Miller

In the movies, we see people inadvertently end up barefoot and it turns into disaster. They get cut, burned or trampled, and it adds excitement or humor to the film. Shoes are such a common thing that it’s hard to imagine living without them.

According to a GAiN Shoe Ministry presentation, 1.2 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day. 400 million of those people are children, many of whom do not have a good pair of shoes. Conversely, over 2 billion shoes are produced each year and 95% end up in landfills. Wow – those are big numbers!

What happens when kids don’t have shoes? Some very unfortunate things. Cuts and bruises on their feet result in infections and, sometimes, amputation. Parasites cause malnutrition, and poor hygiene results in illness and death. It’s real life disaster.

During the month of March, Garden Spot Village is collecting new or lightly used shoes to be delivered to GAiN. It’s a simple way to touch lives across the globe. Many times we think of serving as a hands-on type of thing where we “go and do”. Those who “go and do” need things to “go and do” with. Without shoes to give away there may be no reason to “go and do” at all. Donating a pair of shoes is just as, or maybe even more, important than being the one to travel and hand them out. Taking an unused pair of shoes out of the closet and dropping them in the wooden barrel next to the indoor Garden Spot Village post office is just as meaningful as a trip overseas. Our shoes touch a life.

You can follow the action on the GAiN facebook page

One example of the good the GAiN shoe ministry is doing in the world was pulled from one of their broader Project Proposals. See below.

We take shoes for granted. But the children of Dongeli, near Bor in South Sudan don’t. Before GAIN’s ministry of compassion, many of these children would have been born barefoot and died barefoot . . . without ever owning a pair of shoes.

Walking around Africa barefooted can be dangerous—thorns penetrate the foot, cuts get caked with mud and become infected, and poisonous snakes and biting insects make quick work of bare skin. However, when GAIN’s ministry partners showed up at the small school in Dongeli with loads of shoes, the children were so excited about their gifts some refused to wear them home for fear of wearing them out.
It may seem like such a small gesture—to provide a pair of shoes to a barefooted boy or girl—but their joy is immense. And if a stranger would love them enough to give them a simple gift, perhaps they might be open to receiving the greatest gift of all: Jesus Christ, who knelt and washed the dirty feet of people He loved.

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