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Pa. church hosts sneaker giveaway in conjunction with Samaritan's Feet

August 27, 2011|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com
  • Ryan Mowen of Upton, Pa., a Five Forks Brethren in Christ Church member and volunteer at Saturday's event, puts new shoes on Anna Minteer, 4, of Camp Hill, Pa., after washing her feet. Next to Anna is her sister Amanda, 4.
By C.J. Lovelace

FIVE FORKS, Pa. — Lines were already forming Saturday morning when Doug Shatzer arrived at Five Forks Brethren In Christ Church.

"I came in at 6:50 a.m. and there were already people here waiting to get shoes," said Shatzer, Pennsylvania regional coordinator of Samaritan's Feet, a nonprofit organization that provides shoes and clothing at no cost to communities worldwide.

In conjunction with Samaritan's Feet, the church just outside Waynesboro off Pa. 316 hosted a free sneaker giveaway from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and had already logged 534 visitors by noon, church volunteers said.

Patrons signed up and watched a short film provided by the church before they were sized for a new pair of shoes. Courtesy of about 90 church volunteers, people received a foot washing and new pair of socks to go with it.

"The main focus of Samaritan's Feet is to spread the word of God," Shatzer said. "The shoes are just a means to get folks in to be able to sit down with them, pray with them and share the word of God with them. It's not really all about the shoes."

A total of 1,200 pairs of shoes were on hand for the event, Shatzer said. He expected to eclipse the 600 mark by the end of the day.

Celia Minteer of Quincy, Pa., was standing by as her two granddaughters, 6-year-old Anna and 4-year-old Amanda, were fitted with their new shoes.

Minteer said she has friends who are church members and knows the good the group provides for the community.

"It's beautiful and the church here does so much for everybody," she said. "They're wonderful and very religious people. It's nice."

Jay Winger, a longtime church member and volunteer, said Samaritan's Feet asked them to sponsor Saturday's event, which they gladly obliged. The church volunteers were instrumental to the success of the giveaway, he said.

"We stress a serving attitude and humility here at our church," Winger said. "And this is just another way we reach out the public."

Shatzer wanted to recognize all the work that goes on behind the scenes to provide their free service to the public. They receive help from local trucking companies to transport donated materials as well as store them in a warehouse in Chambersburg for local communities, he said.

Most all shoes, socks, clothing and supplies are donated by large manufacturers, but the organization also produces its own shoes — to provide more sizes for people — thanks to monetary donations, Shatzer said.

Shatzer said they held an event at a Williamsport church two weeks ago and also in Greencastle last year. Others are planned in the Hagerstown and Fayetteville areas in the coming months.

A symbol of his organization, Shatzer believes more in the idea of service to others rather than the affluence of people.

"A millionaire could come in and get a pair of shoes," he said.

To learn more about Samaritan's Feet, go to www.samaritansfeet.org. The church can be found online at www.fiveforkschurch.org.

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