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North Hills Monthly

Memorial Park Christian Preschool Collecting for Soles for Jesus

Nov 30, 2017 01:21PM ● By North Hills Monthly magazine

Each year, Memorial Park Christian Preschool (MPCP) and Memorial Park Church come together to host a shoe drive benefitting Soles for Jesus, an overseas relief group that uses new and gently used shoes that will make a life-changing difference in the lives of children and adults in 30 African countries. 

Memorial Park Church serves as the main Pennsylvania collection site for this nonprofit organization, and members and MPCP families gather together to donate, sort, and package shoes before shipping them off to the Soles for Jesus headquarters in Milwaukee. Each pair of donated shoes then makes its way to selected countries in Africa. This small act of kindness enables children to attend school, adults to travel to work, and ultimately break the cycle of infection that is common in many African countries. 

Former MPCP parents Don and Michelle Simon volunteer throughout the year to sort through the donations and band them together in pairs for shipment. They have been involved in the shoe drive for several years. 

“We feel very blessed that God has put this mission of shoes on our hearts,” said Michelle Simon. “We have been a part of helping thousands to have their physical needs met and bringing them closer to Jesus. The work we do on a weekly basis, collecting and sorting shoes, brings us tremendous joy!”

Jan Moreth, director of MPCP, also notes the opportunities the shoe drive provides, not only for the recipients of shoes, but for her students.

“The heightened awareness and collection of shoes for Soles for Jesus is one of several initiatives that we embrace as a preschool,” she explained. “Everyone wears shoes, so a family with preschoolers simply needs to open up closet doors to see what isn’t been worn before bringing them in. 

“Most of us have many daily choices of shoes, so on one hand, students learn to share out of abundance,” she added. “Some families actually go to buy shoes—giving that may ‘pinch’ a bit. Both acts of giving are valuable for children to be exposed to early on.”

The October 2016 drive brought in over 10,000 pairs of shoes; boxes remained for donation throughout the remainder of the year, with a subsequent shipment of 5,000 pairs of shoes shipped out in late July of 2017. 

For more information on the Soles for Jesus collections—and details on the other outreach initiatives at MPCP and Memorial Park Church—visit www.MemorialParkChurch.org. Shoe donations can be dropped off any time throughout the year in the boxes at the main church building by the preschool wing.