This is the second (first official) event of the Gather to Give community that I recently started with some of my friends and neighbors. If you’d like to read more about the purpose of Gather to Give, go HERE to catch the vision.
I first heard about Sole Hope a few years ago at the Allume blogging conference in Greenville S.C. Being a nurse, I was immediately drawn to their mission of healing the feet of children in Uganda and then providing them with shoes to combat the overall problems of foot health that result from their unprotected feet.
I would love for you to read more about what they are doing HERE and hopefully after learning, you will want to host your own shoe cutting party.
Now to the nitty gritty of hosting a shoe cutting party.
First, you will need to check out www.solehope.org to order your shoe party kit. In the kit, you will find details for how to set up for your party and the supplies that will be needed. There is also a DVD that you can show your party guests to give them a glimpse of what they are working to support.
Next, you will need to spread the word. Let your friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc… know about the need for healthy feet and safe medical conditions in parts of Uganda. When I sent out my initial invitation, I included a link to THIS great video on Sole Hope’s website.
When you are setting up for the party, you will need working table space for each person who attends. I had tables set up in my den and living room, as well as the dining room table.
You will need to ask attendees to bring one pair of old blue jeans and a good pair of scissors. They will also need to bring 10.00 for each pair of shoes they plan to cut. It is more than reasonable to plan for each person to make 1 pair of shoes.
You will also need safety pins and a few plastic folders. (The plastic folders that you can find at Wal-Mart with the school supplies.) I had each person bring a plastic folder, and we had way too many. One folder can make up to 6 pairs of shoes easily.
The last thing that I encouraged my guests to bring was items on the wish list provided on Sole Hope’s website. Medical supplies like band aids, tape, surgical gloves, gauze, and over the counter medicines. Also, they asked for things like stickers and coloring books to give the children at the foot cleaning clinics.
I asked for these things as an optional donation and I was blown away by the amount of medical supplies I received. Even people that could not attend the party stopped by my house to drop off bags of goodies they had purchased to give.
When the party started, we mingled and ate snacks for the first 30 minutes or so. I showed the video and talked for a minute about how awesome it was to be able to gather with a group of women in Charlotte, NC to impact the lives of children thousands of miles away.
The actual shoe tracing and cutting took about one hour. At one point, I rang a bell and made everyone change tables so that for the remainder of the night they would be sitting and chatting with a different group of women. It kind of worked, but made the really organized and detailed people a little nervous with having to move all of their supplies half way through the cutting and tracing.
At the end of the night, we had made a few friends and realized how much we needed to be a part of something that was much bigger than what we could have accomplished on our own. We gathered to give and we had a great time.
I made a little printable of Isaiah 40:31 as a gift for everyone to take home. Just a small way to say thanks for coming and sharing their evening with all of us.
It is so important to remember that even if you are doing something small, when you are doing it for someone else, it matters. There are so many needs and simple ways to get involved. It is more fun and less intimidating to do it with others that want to make a difference too. Think about what you see around you, pay attention, ask the school counselor. Something will come up. It will be awesome.
For more about Gather to Give, you can go HERE to see related posts.
As we continue to meet together, I will continue to post about our projects. If you have ideas for ways to serve others, I’d love to hear all about it.
What a privilege to be able to give.