Supporter Highlight: New Intern Seth Crawford’s Own Barefoot Movement
A personal account from PR and Marketing Intern Seth Crawford on how he got involved with Samaritan’s Feet and how an idea blossomed into a fruitful fundraiser.
Until last summer, I had never even heard of Samaritan’s Feet. I was about to embark on a three-week stay in Kenya when a friend gave me a copy of Samaritan’s Feet Founder Manny Ohonme’s book, Sole Purpose. I threw it in my bag, not planning to actually read it, and set out on my way. I had been on mission trips outside the U.S. before, but never one that was longer than a week.
The stay was both awesome and challenging. I built very close relationships with the Kenyans we worked closely with, went for a run through a tea field and helped build a greenhouse for a village of Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP).
Throughout these experiences, I was repeatedly struck with the gap in wealth distribution both globally and locally. Kenyan country clubs overlooked slums and our American group occasionally ate at nice restaurants for westerners, while minutes away Kenyan families forced down ugali (a tasteless white starch).
The last week of the trip I was conflicted with how to take these experiences with me. I feared that like most people who go on these kinds of trips, a month after returning to the states my conscience would lose its bite and I would sink back into my usual routine. There had to be something I could do. Then Manny’s book caught my eye.
I finished it in two days and became fixed on the theme of the book: saying “Yes” to God’s calling for your life. The closing chapter of the book posed a question, “What is God asking me to say ‘Yes’ to? What gifts has He given me that I am using or not using?” These questions swarmed my mind as I tried to make sense of everything I had experienced and what I could do to fight the hopelessness and pain I had witnessed.
I wanted to come up with a barefoot idea of my own and take up Manny’s call to action. I was a gifted runner in high school and have always been very outgoing. But what could I do with those gifts?
Within a month, I was sitting in the Samaritan’s Feet office in a conference room with Manny and Ashley, the friend who gave me Manny’s book. As a projects manager for the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Charlotte, she offered to help me out in whatever way she could. Manny was excited about my idea of a barefoot 5K in Charlotte and told us he wanted it to be in January for the MLK weekend. Thus the Polar Barefoot Run was born.
For the next six months, I told everyone I knew (and many people I didn’t know) about the run. I spoke at a few events, went to churches and passed out flyers. Ashley and Coca-Cola helped me out immensely during this process and on January 14, 2012 Samaritan’s Feet held its first ever Polar Barefoot Run at Freedom Park in Charlotte. Coca-Cola provided waters, Coke products, an inflatable arch at the starting line, music and even video games. Over one hundred people came out for the run. Bodies were frozen, feet were blistered and spirits were elevated. When it was said and done, we had raised almost $12,000.
Before putting on the run I had no knowledge of event planning, no resources at my disposal to accomplish the goal and no attention to detail needed for organizing such an event. But all was provided once I stopped making excuses and took a chance. I challenge anyone who has ideas he is afraid to act on because of perceived incompetence, fear of failure or a lack of resources to step out and say, “Yes!”
For more information on how to launch your own event through Samaritan’s Feet, go to our “Barefoot Movement” tab: http://www.samaritansfeet.org/become-a-partner/