Friends, this group, Sole Hope, is more “Get involved!” and less “Buy their awesome stuff!” but you CAN buy their awesome stuff, and I have, AND you can get involved. It definitely counts.
Who is Sole Hope, you might ask?
(Warning: this video contains graphic medical images of children’s feet).
Well, “Sole Hope exists to effectively put in place preventive methods to combat diseases that enter through the feet and to create a positive physical and spiritual difference in the lives of individuals in impoverished communities.”
They work with existing groups in Ugandan communities to remove jiggers from the infected feet of local children, provide follow-up education on causes and prevention of foot-related diseases, and provide shoes to prevent re-infection. Not just any shoes, but shoes cut here from recycled denim, shipped to Uganda, and finished by local shoemakers.
Their vision is one of relief, education, and sustainability. And hope. Always hope.
I am staring at my computer and I don’t know how to tell you what those words mean to me. But I will try.
What is a shoe cutting party, you might ask? Well it just so happens that I have an answer, because we had one today.
1. Grab a party kit here, gather your people, your old and unused denim, and other various and sundry supplies as directed. (Tip from experience: Make sure you have A LOT of pinking shears.)
2. Trace and cut the parts to lots of pairs of shoes
3. Talk amongst yourselves.
Just a little no make-up, mid-word, goofy realness from yours truly.
4. Pin them together, mail them back to Sole Hope, and let them do the rest.
Things they get: Shoes ready to be assembled. Funds for paying local shoemakers. Medical supplies.
Things you get: A chance to recycle. (Fair Trade Win!) A chance to practice biblical hospitality and sweet fellowship among the race that knows Joseph. And finally, a connection to the worldwide community through a group that seeks to build community and long-term sustainability. Kingdom work. Not soul-saving, no, but soul-sustaining, yes. YES.
“Why does this matter to me,” you might ask yourself. I only have an answer for why it matters to ME. I hope it resonates with you.
If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know I am on a continuous journey in the life of this family to live out Micah 6:8. To truly see every opportunity to open our hearts and our lives to the poor, the needy, the lost. The organizations that I am finding a heart’s connection with on this journey all have specific, common characteristics. They are focused on long term sustainability and partnership with a community. Their mission is not to save, but to come along side, to share-their resources, their knowledge, and their lives. They are transparent with their financial information and earnest in their desire for honest, intentional growth. I was introduced to Sole Hope at Allume, (and I have the pleasure of knowing, even a little, one of the board members and how her heart aches for the least of these.)
Included in that introduction was my exposure to a wider community of women who are incredibly passionate about Kingdom work in every way. In our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our transactions, in our country, and across the world. My heart is at home with these women and our collective ache for justice, and mercy. But our relationships exist across pixels and cables and the cloud and meanwhile. MEANWHILE.
My boys aren’t sleeping, we survived two weeks of no school and the snowpocolypse and I am fighting off the Cold of Death and, really, do my shoe parties and Valentine making parties and blog posts sent out to a respectable 75 people matter?
Yes. A thousand times yes.
I asked a version of this question to the Husband today after a hosting a Shoe Cutting Party this morning at the end of a very long, difficult week. The founder of Sole Hope said once at Allume, “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.” This is something. It matters to me because I am serving the best way I know how. Seven dear friends in my living room and ten pair of shoes later, I know I am being obedient to Micah 6:8 AND the ways in which God calls me to serve here, right here at home with my impossible, wild, precious children. And I am able to share the things I am passionate about with the people I do real life with. And that matters too.
I bring my widow’s mite to the treasury and it is from the depths of my tired mama soul.
Plus you can buy these shoes. (Here commences the “Buy awesome stuff portion!” of Fair Trade Friday.) I heart these shoes for my Second-Son.
They are similar in function to Robeez, while having the added bonus of providing fundraising for Sole Hope. They have other, branded merchandise, but the shoes meet a need in my home, and that is the primary driver of our current purchases.
They are handmade in the US and the fabric is one of a kind for each pair. He has worn them about 75% of the time since I bought them in October. He wears them outside when it is dry and not freezing. They are holding up GREAT and he can’t get them off. Big deal for a toddler mom! I recommend these shoes with no hesitation and am going all in on a new pair for baby as soon we know pink or blue!
(Full disclosure, I am reaching out to ask about the clothes – where and how they are made, and who makes them. I do not know the answer to those questions. I can only speak for purchasing and using the baby shoes).
No one can do everything. Everyone can do something.