By Tracey Stipp – SF Ambassador – Marketing & Volunteer Relations
A group of Samaritan’s Feet volunteers recently returned from a trip to South Africa. John Stipp, one of the team members, shared some of his thoughts and experiences from being on that trip.
The team spent most of their time in Limpopo which is one of nine South African provinces north of Johannesburg. They had the opportunity to distribute around 550 pairs of shoes to several churches with kid’s programs and to orphanages in Limpopo. Shoes were also given to the workers of the mission facility that hosted the team as well as the sister mission facility next door. The team also distributed shoes at another mission facility in Johannesburg while on their way back home to the United States.
Of all the special people the team came into contact with, John says their hosts, the people of Blessman Ministries, were especially wonderful to be around – very gracious and always making the team feel at home. As far as their work in the field, John had this to say, “There were several children who particularly touched my heart with their hugs and smiles. They were the ones who had no inhibitions about expressing their excitement to get new shoes. Their excitement about the message we told them of how Jesus loves them and has special plans for them was contagious.” John’s most memorable moment of the trip was with one special boy who kept coming back for hugs at one of the orphanages they visited. He remembers, “I wished I could have stayed all day and night giving him the love he wanted.”
Being gone eleven days to a foreign country while on a mission trip offers countless opportunities to learn and to grow as a person. As for the one thing that most impacted him while being in South Africa, John comments, “I realized the love of Jesus Christ is the one and only thing that can overcome the historical racial tension in South Africa. This was taught to me by Pierre, a wonderful Christian servant who is an Afrikaan (also known as Boer – the whites of South Africa of original European descent). I found the blacks to be totally loving and appreciative of everything we did. For blacks and whites alike to see whites washing the feet of blacks in South Africa was something they probably thought they would never see. What better way to demonstrate the love of Christ and how God intends for us to get along by serving one another?”
John’s impression of the South African people is that they are just like Americans in how they act and behave. He was more impressed by the similarities – white and black – than the differences. When asked if there are any lessons Americans can learn from South Africa and its struggle with apartheid, John observes, “I think it is the same lesson we learned while in South Africa: Jesus and love are the answers to racial disharmony.”
The trip to Limpopo involved long plane rides and car rides as well as time spent away from family and business. In answering whether the sacrifices are worth it, John passionately says, “When you do something you love, it is hardly a sacrifice. Certainly the long plane flight and sharing your space and facilities are sometimes inconvenient. The joy you get back in return, including surprises like going on safaris and walking with lions, reminds me of how God blows me away by giving back many times over when His people step out in faith.”
Samaritan’s Feet is obviously known as an organization that gives out shoes and offers hope to those most in need. However, John says there is so much more to it than that: “We give new shoes to people who need them, but it is not really about the shoes. The shoes are the means by which we show the love of Christ. The washing of the feet is a great ceremony to demonstrate Christ’s love and example of service. We hope to leave an impression on each person in a way that plants a seed and hopefully bears fruit later.”
John advises others who are considering a mission trip with SF to not ask why you cannot go or why you cannot afford the expense or the time away. He encourages others that “God will take care of your concerns – trust me. God loves those who step out in faith. Just decide to go and DO IT. You will not be disappointed, and your heart will open in a way you can never anticipate.”
Check out this page to see the mission trips Samaritan’s Feet is planning for 2013. Come join us on one!
By Tracey Stipp, SF Ambassador – Marketing & Volunteer Relations
This week our blog is highlighting another individual, Matt Broughton, who is running in the prestigious ING New York City Marathon on November 4, 2012. The NYC marathon has a $1 million per mile charity campaign, and Matt chose Samaritan’s Feet to be the recipient of his fundraising efforts. A friend who participated in an international shoe distribution in Burundi, Africa, introduced Matt to Samaritan’s Feet. She invited Matt to run the NYC marathon on behalf of Samaritan’s Feet. Matt became more invested on a personal level after helping with a shoe distribution himself and growing in his desire to get shoes to people who really need them. He says, “It’s a simple thing most of us take for granted, but it can change a life. I want to do my part.”
Mat has a love of running and has competed in races and marathons for years, yet this is the first time he has combined his passion for running with raising funds and awareness for an organization. Once he learned about the impact a single pair of shoes can make in a person’s life, as well as the staggering amounts of people who go without a decent pair of shoes or any shoes at all, Matt decided to use his ability to run long distances to raise money for Samaritan’s Feet. Running is a sport that has no barriers for age, sex or race, and it can be done almost anywhere, at anytime. Matt says, “Running can open doors, change lifestyles, and even lives. If it is as simple as providing a pair of shoes, then I want to help make that happen. I have competed in races where others are running for a cause or a tribute. I think this will give new meaning for each step of the race because at the finish line I will have the satisfaction of completing a challenging running course, but also the knowledge that I have helped to make a difference.”
People are surprised to learn that nearly 300 million people around the world go without shoes each day. More people than that are affected by parasitic diseases that could be prevented by wearing proper footwear. Check out Dying Without Shoes to learn more about the dangers of wearing no shoes. Matt declares that until his education through Samaritan’s Feet, he had no idea that lack of shoes causes so many medical problems. He knew that it could cause discomfort and a challenge perhaps, but not to such a severe degree. According to Matt, “The fact that these medical issues are preventable in such an inexpensive way makes providing shoes an important and achievable goal to drastically reduce, or hopefully eliminate, this situation here in our own country as well as all over the world.
As mentioned earlier, Matt volunteered at a local distribution that impressed upon him the vital work that Samaritan’s Feet does. He shares this story: “My job at the shoe distribution where I worked was to be a “runner” who gets shoes while people are being sized for shoes and getting their feet washed. The person I was running for had just finished fitting two cute girls who were ecstatic about their new shoes. The volunteer foot washer then looked at the father and said, ‘What about you?’ He looked at her and responded, ‘I haven’t had a new pair of shoes in three years, everything I do is for my daughters.’ As she took off the father’s tattered shoes with a half lace in one shoe and no lace at all in the other shoe, removed his dirty socks and started washing his feet, I think the dad was close to crying in appreciation for the gift he was about to receive. The whole situation was a rewarding and humbling experience that is not soon forgotten. It is for these people in whose honor I will run the NYC marathon.”
Matt has two daughters who share his enjoyment of running. He is encouraging his family to be more involved with Samaritan’s Feet in the future so that his children have the opportunity to appreciate more of what they have and also to give back to others. It can be easy to take for granted the ability to participate in any sport, even running, and to recognize that even the shoes it takes to run in can be considered a luxury.
Matt concludes by saying, “I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in the NYC marathon, and to raise money for an important cause by doing what I love to do best, running. I hope to raise more than just money for Samaritan’s Feet; I hope also to help raise awareness and compassion.”
If you are interested in supporting Matt in his fundraising goal, please visit his fundraising page.
Source: The Fort Morgan Times
By Veronica Ivey
Times Sports Writer
Kevin Lee was once a Beetdigger, wearing the maroon and gold and quite the athlete.
Today he is still running and still the same ‘Digger at heart. Only now he has traded in competing for school glory in meets and matches and has picked up running marathons for worldly causes, but Lee still wants to share the glory back at home.
This isn’t Lee’s first rodeo when it comes to running marathons, as he competes in his 12th marathon.
But this is the first one for charity, but the inspiration didn’t just come out of nowhere. ” I was watching a basketball game on television and the coach from South Dakota State was coaching barefoot, and I thought to myself this probably has to be from a cause,” said Lee.
So he did some research about it on the Internet and found out about Samaritans Feet and the Barefoot Movement. He wrote to the charity, and people there helped him out with a lot of great information and enthusiasm about involvement. He just knew this was the cause he had been looking for, something that touched him and that he wanted to help make a difference in.
Lee has been a marathon runner for some time now but found this particular one that will let him combine two of passions, running and this charity. On Oct. 7 Lee will run a marathon hosted in Chicago, Illinois, and it will help raise benefits for Samaritans Feet, which is an organization that help provide shoes for the underprivileged through out the world and even home in the United States.
If you were to ask him why this particular charity stood out for him so much this is what he’d tell you: “It’s one of those deals where it’s just my way of giving back, if you will. I do quite a bit of traveling with my job, not so much globally but domestically, and it’s hard to believe the impoverished areas in this country,” said Lee.
He explains that a lot of people do not realize that we have these issues right here at home, that some people don’t even have the privilege of a pair of shoes. According to the Samaritans Feet Web site the Barefoot Movement is about people who have platforms or the position to help become aware of the 300,000,000 million children who walk around everyday barefoot because they cant afford shoes, and to help change this.
“The Barefoot for Bare Feet movement has been vital to the ability of Samaritan’s Feet to collect shoes and raise funds for mobilization and operation. The passionate volunteers who make these events happen have been responsible for changing thousands of lives.” -www.samaritansfeet.org
This is what Lee is about, using the his ability and position to just help even if it is “small steps” by running a marathon and allowing people to become aware, because it’s such a easy problem to fix if everyone helps.
The Chicago Marathon allows runners to choose their charity, and runners have to be signed up months in advance.
Lee jumped on this opportunity and chose this charity, because of the problems right here at home. Many people don’t realize that Americans living here on our home soil have to choose between shoes or food for their children, and millions die from foot borne illnesses that could be prevented with a simple pair of shoes.
If you want to help Kevin Lee in his endeavors or just want to keep track you can visit his Samaritans Feet Facebook page, http://bit.ly/SeX2Ws, or go to samaritansfeet.org for more information on how to get involved.
The story doesn’t end here for Lee and his cause, as he wants to share it with his hometown, inviting people to be supportive but also providing some support as well. “I would like to do something for Morgan County, it’s not necessarily impoverished but there is still a lot of people in need for everyday shoes.
“I’ve lived there my whole life and am proud of it, and I’d really like to raise enough money to do a shoe give away in Morgan County,” said Lee.
Lee grew up in Brush graduating from Brush High School in 1981 and is very proud of being from Morgan County and would like to share the cause that’s nearest to his heart with the town that’s dearest to his heart.
If you would like to help, he asked that you contact him through his Facebook to get this going, through the Samaritans Feet Graham Gibbs Barefoot Movement.
– Contact Veronica Ivey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Tracey Stipp, SF Ambassador – Marketing & Volunteer Relations
The Samaritan’s Feet blog recently highlighted Deb Rotella and the story of how she came to participate in the ING New York City Marathon, November 4, 2012. The NYC Marathon is one of the world’s great road races and draws more than 100,000 applicants each year. The race attracts world class professional athletes who are drawn by several things: prize money, prestige and the support of millions of spectators in the city and through worldwide television viewers. How does a runner take such an athletic milestone and make it more personal, more long lasting than the accomplishment of completing the racecourse?
Deb Rotella’s running partner, Summer Rosenberger, knows something about that. She has taken on Samaritan’s Feet as her charity of choice for the race and has set the goal of raising $5,000 to help put shoes on needy children all around the world. 300 million people wake up each morning without a pair of shoes to protect their feet from injury and disease. The goal of Samaritan’s Feet is to provide 10 million pairs of shoes over the next 10 years not only to meet people’s physical needs, but to share the message that these impoverished ones are people of worth and value, just like the rest of the world. Hope is the extra message that is given to those who are destitute and who think that no one else cares.
Although Summer has completed half marathons and a half Ironman, she has never run a full 26.2 mile marathon before. By taking on this personal goal, she hopes to help spread the message about the impactful work Samaritan’s Feet is doing, as well as raise practical funds for them to continue their mission in this country and around the world. Summer has not done a race for charity before, but she is excited and motivated to make her running count for those who benefit from the far reach of the shoe distributions sponsored by Samaritan’s Feet. Participating in the local shoe distribution work of Samaritan’s Feet has helped Summer realize how she takes those running shoes in her closet for granted. The fact that she has countless shoes to pick from while many people in the world do not have a pair of shoes to call their own, is a humbling realization.
Summer says she definitely needs inspiration while running and training for a monumental event such as a marathon. Now that her running goal also benefits Samaritan’s Feet, she is determined to accomplish her goal – no giving up! Summer’s greatest hope is that her running team can make a difference in raising money and awareness for Samaritan’s Feet. She resolutely says that anyone in her path will hear the story of Samaritan’s Feet and will learn all about the good work they are doing.
Her encouragement to everyone is that “You can do anything you put your mind to!” Summer says to follow proper training, take care of your body, and maybe one day you too will qualify for the NYC Marathon and take on the cause of a life-changing organization like Samaritan’s Feet!
Click here to visit Summer’s fundraising page and support her efforts.
By Tracey Stipp, SF Ambassador – Marketing & Volunteer Relations
Samaritan’s Feet is proud to be the charity sponsor of five runners who are running in the prestigious ING New York City Marathon on November 4, 2012. We would like to introduce them to you and tell you their stories.
Deb Rotella is an avid runner who has participated in many races: 5K, 10K, half marathons, sprint triathlons, international distance triathlons, and a half Ironman. The list of Deb’s running accomplishments is daunting, but her drive and passion for running have always motivated her to take on strenuous athletic challenges. Until this year, Deb had no interest in running the full 26.2 miles of a marathon because it just seemed monotonous. A trip to Burundi, Africa last summer changed her perspective.
Deb traveled to Burundi with Manny and Tracie Ohonme, founders of Samaritan’s Feet, and met with children one on one. Humbly kneeling before them in their tattered clothing, washing their dirty, unprotected feet with their cuts, sores and infections, she experienced joy and satisfaction in fitting them with new socks and shoes. The actions of the Samaritan’s Feet team reminded these young ones that even though they live surrounded by devastation from war, violence, disease and poverty, they are not forgotten to the rest of humanity.
While all of the kids in Burundi touched Deb’s heart, a few of the children and their actions were especially memorable. There was an orphan boy, about ten years old, in the mountains of Burundi. He wore only nylon basketball shorts with holes, an oversized jean jacket, no shirt and no shoes. As Deb washed his feet, she saw him shaking because the water was so cold and the air was chilly. The boy sat still and tried not to give in to his uncontrollable shaking. He so badly wanted the washing, the human contact, the companionship and the new shoes that he was going to do whatever it took to finish the foot washing process. At another orphanage where Deb had the opportunity to visit twice, the children told her as the team was leaving for the second time, “Thank you for coming back. We know you must like us because no one ever comes back!”
Poverty is such a huge problem in our world that one hardly knows how to begin helping and making a difference. Can the gift of a simple pair of shoes truly change a life and give hope to an impoverished child? Deb says “Yes, a pair of shoes makes a difference!” The shoes provide a physical need, but the life changing impact comes from the one on one time spent with the kids. As the children have their feet washed, as you talk with them, look directly in their eyes and smile, they know that they are important. The children will grow out of their physical need which is having new shoes, but they will be forever changed by the kindness, love and value that such an act expressed to them.
With that experience fresh on her heart and mind, Deb decided to not sign up for any races during the summer/fall season. It was refreshing to take a break from the rigorous training schedule of the past. She did decide that if a race came along that she and her running partner were interested in doing, then she would jump right into it. One day, Manny Ohonme of Samaritan’s Feet called Deb and offered her and two friends charity spots in the NYC Marathon. Deb responded without one bit of reserve, especially knowing that the break from intensive training would help her be ready without over-training or burning out. Her main excitement in responding “yes” was to have the chance to support Samaritan’s Feet and the wonderful work they are doing in the United States and all over the world.
Deb has set $15,000 as her fundraising goal for running the NYC Marathon. Her focus is totally on benefiting as many kids as possible through Samaritan’s Feet. Of course, it is a huge personal accomplishment to finish a full marathon, but Deb feels that finishing the race for her own benefit would be a goal without foundation and purpose; a self-serving event. However, running the race to benefit Samaritan’s Feet outweighs the short lived fulfillment of reaching an amazing personal goal; it helps Deb keep on giving and getting shoes and aid to those people in our world who most need encouragement.
To view Deb’s personal fundraising page and support her efforts, click here.
By Gregg Rosenthal
Around The League editor
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith spent the last two weeks of the preseason on crutches with a foot infection. That caused some concern about his Week 1 status, but a gesture Smith is making for charity should put any concerns to rest.
Smith will take off his cleats at the end of the Panthers’ game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend and walk barefoot to the locker room to raise awareness for Samaritan’s Feet, an organization that provides footwear for impoverished children. Smith, a devoted philanthropist, is trying to raise $500,000 for the charity.
The timing of the move appears to be coincidental. Smith couldn’t even wear shoes last week, but it’s safe to say he wouldn’t be taking them off so publicly if he was worried about his health going into Week 1.
Source: CBS Sports
By Jeff Goodman | College Basketball Insider
Georgia State coach Ron Hunter has the right idea.
“The NCAA should mandate that teams give back, or do something for the community when they go on these foreign trips,” Hunter said. “There’s so much poverty in the world and we can help.”
Hunter’s right – and he’s no stranger to giving back. He made his sixth trip abroad with Samaritan’s Feet when he took his team to South Africa last month.
“I wish I could find a word to describe what happened on the trip,” Hunter said. “It changed me and my life.”
Hunter saw his son, freshman R.J. Hunter, take the socks off his feet and give them to a young boy in need from South Africa. He watched his players break down in tears at the sight of watching the struggles of kids who have grown up in severe poverty. When Georgia State huddles together prior to games this season, they will won’t say, “Win”. Instead, they’ll yell, “Zero-Zero-One” in honor of a prayer they say in South Africa.
“They may not have breakfast or lunch,” he said. “But they just want the opportunity to have one meal. It puts everything in perspective. No matter how bad things can be here, over there kids are thankful just to get one meal a day.”
His team didn’t play a single game, not a single minute of basketball on the trip, yet my sense is that Georgia State’s journey was more productive than any of the 60 or so foreign jaunts that were taken this summer.
“Kids didn’t have cell phones, so they had to talk about their feelings to one another,” Hunter said. “We had devotion every day so we could talk about what happened that day.”
Hunter’s mission, through Samaritan’s Feet, has been to give shoes to as many kids in need as possible. He’s gone to Cameroon, Costa Rica, Peru and South Africa to help address the problem that affects nearly 300 million people across the world. This trip put it all in perspective for Hunter. Here’s a guy who was admittedly frustrated in the offseason when he learned that his players would not be allowed to participate in the CAA tournament due to the program’s impending departure to the Sun Belt in 2013-14.
“I was upset,” Hunter said. “It bothered me, but after this trip you realize how small that is in the grand scheme of things. This trip was our postseason, our Final Four.”
While the team didn’t play any games on the trip, Hunter did utilize the 10 practices — and we got his thoughts:
What Hunter learned: We’ve got some talented players. Guys like Devonta White, Manny Atkins, R.J. We’ve got to put it all together, but I really like the talent level.
Who stood out: Manny Atkins is really good. He played in the ACC, sat out last year and is a captain.”
Concerns: “I’m worried about February for me and the kids. I’ve always coached to get ready for the conference tournament. I’m not going to be able to coach that way this year. It’ll be different.”
- Hunter made no secret that this is the most talented team he’s coaches in his 19 seasons as a head coach. He has nine new players. “This trip was great for us to bond,” he said.
- His son, R.J., chose to play at Georgia State despite multiple offers from high-major programs. “I never asked him to come here,” Ron Hunter said. “I just let it play itself out.” The elder Hunter said that he doesn’t think his son would have made the decision to play for him if he was still at IUPUI.
- Devonta White is the only full-time starter back. He led the team in scoring last season at 12.9 points per game.
- Hunter is also high on freshman forward Marcus Crider, a one-time Providence signee.
- Senior big man James Vincent, who averaged 3.2 points per game last season playing sparingly off the bench, has lost about 20 pounds or so and has the inside track to a starting spot.
- Hunter on not being allowed to play in the CAA postseason tourney. “We’ll play with a chip on our shoulder. Every game becomes a tournament game for us.”
The humidity on the field at IMG Academy was so thick you could see it. After practice, most of the Panther players did their interviews in the shade beneath a tent.
But Steve Smith was in the sunshine when I approached him, and that’s where we stayed. He had just finished a conversation with former Panther quarterback Chris Weinke, who was drafted in 2001, the same season Smith was. Smith was drafted in the third round, Weinke in the fourth.
Weinke is the football program director for IMG Academy.
“Twelve years,” Weinke said.
The season will be Smith’s 12th.
Smith was in an expansive mood despite the heat. He talked excitedly about his work with Samaritan’s Feet. On Saturday in Tampa and he his wife, Angie, and their three children will wash the feet of impoverished children and provide them with new socks and shoes. Under Armour is part of the effort.
Smith will try to get involved in the cause in each of the cities this season in which the Panthers play, as well as in Charlotte. Time constraints will not enable him to actively participate in each, although he will lend his name.
Smith talked about how he wants to appreciate the time he has left in football. He wants to enjoy his teammates. He wants to enjoy the little things about being part of a team and part of the game.
Smith, 33, also talked about the imprint he wants to leave. He says for a long time he played selfishly — for victories, for statistics and for him.
But now, through his work with organizations such as Samaritan’s Feet, he wants to leave a deeper imprint, even if it’s the shoes of others that will make it.
By Marketing and PR Intern Seth Crawford
Karen Bovender had never really been out of the country. The mother of three boys hadn’t planned on leaving her small town to go to Kenya; it all just fell into place.
In February, Bovender was introduced to Samaritan’s Feet for the first time when a friend sent her an email inviting her to attend a Samaritan’s Feet shoe distribution at the school of the friend’s son. Bovender could not have guessed that this email would lead her on an adventure half way around the world.
Upon reading the email, Bovender perused the Samaritan’s Feet website and in about five days had committed to going to Kenya with four other women from her church, Sedge Garden United Methodist Church in Kernersville, NC. They would be part of a team of eight women who would distribute more than 500 pairs of shoes to children in Kenya.
It is no easy task for a wife and mother to agree to leave her family for a far off, unfamiliar country, even if for only a week. To make the decision even more difficult, Bovender had only ever ventured off U.S. soil to visit the vacation destinations of some nearby islands. Going to Kenya would not only be her first international mission trip, but her first mission trip ever. Despite all the reasons not to go, Bovender knew she was supposed to go.
“(The other women and I) all felt called that this was the right time for each of us even though it was a sacrifice for us and our families,” Bovender said. “They are really my sisters. It was like going with family.”
Bovender has been back from her trip for a few weeks now and the lessons and implications of what she experienced are beginning to set it. When she first returned, she expressed in a post-trip evaluation survey that she was unable to put into words how the trip had changed her life. Now she is able to articulate it.
“I learned a lot of lessons when I was there. I learned that prayer works and God is in control.”
When Bovender’s team first arrived, they were initially held up in customs and told they were not allowed to bring their bags containing 525 pairs of shoes. They were told that the proper forms had not been filled out and that the shoes could not be brought into the country. Without the shoes, the expectant recipients would have been let down and the Samaritan’s Feet team would have lost its purpose for flying to Africa.
“We literally laid our hands down on the bags and started to pray,” Bovender said.
Almost as soon as the women began praying, the customs worker abruptly changed his mind and gruffly allowed them to go on.
“It just opened our eyes to the power of God.”
Once connected with their in-country hosts, the team was taken to a school that was so far removed, the women had to camp in tents in a field by the class buildings. Through spending this time intimately relating to the students, their families and the full-time missionaries present, Bovender was taught another lesson that she was determined to bring back with her to Kernersville.
“Being with our in-country missionary, Brian, showed me what it looks like to serve the lord everyday of your life. That was very eye opening to me,” Bovender said.
Bovender observed that the people in the area of Kenya that they visited were filled with a joy unlike she has seen in the United States. Without distractions like phones, TV and the Internet, people spend more time with each other and keep their hearts and minds directed towards God.
“God showed me and taught me the importance of being quiet and eliminating distractions from my life,” She said. “It was so powerful,”
In retrospect, the big decision of leaving the country for the first time to attend one of Samaritan’s Feet’s most remote distributions no longer seems so big to Bovender. After learning so many life lessons on this trip, she views her growth as a person as the big picture and all the events that led her to this point as stepping-stones.
“It’s just going to be a journey of baby steps,” Bovender said in reference to applying what she learned on the trip to her life back in Kernersville. “Saying, ‘yes’ to Kenya was just a baby step even though it seemed like such a big step.”
Bovender’s most memorable ‘baby step’ of the trip was the opportunity to serve children individually at the shoe distribution. To her it perfectly mirrored the intimate love Jesus expressed when he individually washed each of his disciples’ feet.
“Manny’s vision of giving new shoes and new socks and washing the feet is so genius because it gives you so much time with each child,” Bovender said. “It gives you enough time to meet each one and time to pray for each one individually. I’m so grateful for that opportunity and experience.”