Soles for Beaufort County souls

Published 1:55 am Sunday, August 14, 2011

Church volunteers sort shoes for people who attended the Rural Compassion shoe drive at the Washington Assembly of God church Saturday. Over 1,000 people were expected to attend. (WDN Photo/Jurgen Boerema)

Area residents traveled outside of Washington Saturday for a shoe drive hosted at the Washington Assembly of God church.
Stephen Evans, pastor at Washington Assembly of God, explained the purpose of the event.
“During the economic times that we are in, we are partnering with an organization called Sole Mission. They work through Rural Compassion to distribute shoes to children and families throughout rural America. Our goal is to put shoes on the feet of needy people in the physical. When Jesus was asked in the Bible about the greatest command, he said it was to love the Lord your God with all your heart. He also said the second is like unto it love your neighbor as yourself. Ultimately what we are trying to do here is to love people. Last checked, we had around 800 registered participants that have come through the gates.”
Evans mentioned the figure around 10 in the morning and said he expected that to grow to over a thousand by the afternoon. By participants he meant children and adults that had come through the gates to get shoes. He mentioned that almost all of the people at the event were from Beaufort County. Children at the event received a voucher for a free pair of shoes and food at the event.
Evans said that his church hopes to have a similar event next year
Washington Assembly of God has never hosted such a large event before. Around 100 volunteers from churches in Smithfield, Fuquay-Varina and Dunn also appeared to help at the event.
Alisa Ward, who has worked with Rural Compassion for a number of years, stated that Rural Compassion has provided over 30,000 pairs of shoes to people of all ages around the country.
Ward tried to relate the degree of “neediness” at the event.
“We didn’t have an exact demographic number of how many people are in need of a pair of shoes in the area or across the country. Rather we have looked at how many people are in need of a well-fitting pair of shoes. That number is actually quite large.”
The Washington Assembly of God worked with the North Carolina District of the Assemblies of God Women’s Ministries and Rural Compassion to host the event. The North Carolina District Council was formed in 1944 to create a voluntary cooperative fellowship of Assemblies of God church leaders committed to working together to advance the cause of Christ at home and abroad. Rural Compassion is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The organization has over 60 years of church ministry experience within its staff. They have worked in rural and metro areas and have led mission trips across the United States.