Hope Park Church is an ORPHANetwork church partner located in Nashville, Tennessee. Through their relationship with Soles 4 Souls, a non-profit also located in their hometown, Hope Park has hauled down countless suitcases of shoes for our children in Nicaragua. Most recently this partnership enabled us to give all of the children we serve in Nicaragua a new pair of good quality shoes, and the following is the story of how suitcases filled with shoes evolved into a shipping container filled with shoes.
As our relationship with our church partner, Hope Park grew Tom Weiglein, our National Program Director, asked for shoes specifically for our orphanage partner, Casa Bernabe, in Puerto Cabezas. Casa Bernabe “Port” is home to about 110 children, and as you might imagine, shoes are always in demand. Through our partnership with Hope Park and theirs with Soles 4 Souls, we were able to get shoes for our children in Port as well as for all of the children (about 350) in our partner orphanages.
In addition to serving hundreds of children living in our six partner orphanages, we also serve thousands of at-risk children through our Local Church Initiatives (LCI). The purpose of the LCI is to reach the community through holistic methods such as food, nutrition, health assessments, and education. The LCI empowers the pastors to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with their community and provide much needed hope where there once was none. In 2011, we joined forces with a new strategic partner in Nicaragua, On Eagle’s Wings Ministry, which serves about 7,300 children living in some of the most remote areas of the country. From 2010 to 2012 our ministry expanded from serving about 2,500 children to serving almost 12,000 children!
This growth enabled us to make a much larger request from Soles 4 Souls, which in turn led them to reach out to Skechers to fulfill each of our children’s needs for good quality shoes. Skechers was able to donate 18,600 pairs of shoes to ORPHANetwork through their BOBS line of shoes! Skechers’ BOBS program was inspired by the idea of gifting a pair of shoes with every purchase made.
When the container full of shoes arrived to Managua we distributed them to each of our partners in just one day. Over 400 pairs of tennis shoes for the children at our orphanage partners, about 4,600 pairs of shoes for the children served through our LCI partners, and over 9,000 pairs went to the children served by On Eagle’s Wings. We were even able to share a few thousand pairs of shoes with a fellow Nicaraguan NGO, Father Fabretto, and our US partner, Feed My Starving Children.
The video below captures images of our Nicaraguan partners, the precious children they serve, and the great need that these wonderful partnerships made it possible to fulfill.