Editor’s Note November ’17: A thankful heart

On a recent Monday morning, my husband and I joined two staff members from our church on a special trip to a local school. In hand we had 38 pairs of brand, spanking new, name brand tennis shoes for kiddos who needed them.

For several years, our church has funded and undertaken the project. Church members had been invited each year to participate in the presentation of the shoes to the kiddos but it never seemed to be at a time when we were available. This year, we could make the trip and felt like it was something we were being called to do.


It was more than a drive to the school, drop off the shoes with the counselor and return home. We met with the counselor with shoes in hand, each box labeled with the student’s name and teacher. In small groups of two or three, the students were called to the office. Some thought they were getting in trouble. Others were uncertain what was going on.

As they filed in the room, each student sat in a chair. Their eyes lit up when we showed them their new shoes and socks. Some flashed a big smile, while others were a bit confused. “These are my…shoes? I get to take them home?”

We assured them that they were the new owners of these shoes. Still in disbelief, several questioned, “These are mine?”

One by one, our group removed the old shoes that the children were wearing, washed their feet and placed the new socks and shoes on their feet. Some jumped up and down, trying out their new shoes. Others just stared at their shoes, still unsure what had just happened.

Two of the little boys touched my heart. One was wearing a men’s shoe on his right foot and a child’s shoe on his left. The other youngster was attempting to wear shoes that were a couple of sizes too small for his feet. He had bent the back of the shoes and his heel rested on top of it. Both were so happy and so thankful.

The scene played out in my mind when I interviewed Erica Cason about the Operation Christmas Child program (Pages 28-29) and the new Go Store.  She fought tears as she recounted stories of young children in other countries who were ecstatic that they would no longer have to share a toothbrush with other children because they had received their own thanks to someone who had filled a shoebox. 

A toothbrush. A pair of socks and shoes. Things that many of us just take for granted.

As we enter into this time of thanksgiving and this special holiday season, may we be mindful of others and help where we can. With a thankful heart, here’s to “Loving LIFE” in the 501.

Sonja J. Keith