Eldon’s Church of the Nazarene is helping turn used and unwanted shoes into clean drinking water in  poverty-stricken countries.

Kay Webery, a member of the church, heard about a program that helps poor people on many different levels, and knew it was something that she and her church needed to become involved with.


Want to help?


• Bring any unwanted shoes or clothing to the Eldon Church of the Nazarene any Monday, Wednesday or Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or contact the church office at 573 392-3440.


• People going to Six Flags this summer can help George and themselves by going to www.sixflags.com and ordering tickets for $25 each instead of the $40 at the gate. Use the promo code: thrive, and $5 from each ticket sold in this manner goes to George’s ministry.


Eldon’s Church of the Nazarene is helping turn used and unwanted shoes into clean drinking water in poverty-stricken countries.
Kay Webery, a member of the church, heard about a program that helps poor people on many different levels, and knew it was something that she and her church needed to become involved with.
“I am an avid listener to Bott Radio,” she said. “For several months I had been hearing George the Shoeman’s commercials appealing to listeners to donate shoes to his ministry. Occasionally, I would write down his contact information on a slip of paper as I drove along, only to get busy with something else; sometimes the scrap of paper would get lost in the wash. A few weeks ago, I finally called the number and spoke with Julie.”
Webery went on to say that Julie works with the Shoeman Project, and had the answers she was looking for.
“Julie explained that George was in Kenya drilling for clean water even as we spoke,” Webery said.” She told me that George would return and leave for Haiti on the 28th of July taking numerous charcoal water purification systems with him.  Before I made the call, I had hoped to be able to participate in the program to some degree. When I heard that there is no shoe collection point in the lake area, I volunteered for us to be it.”
The Shoeman Project takes shoes that families no longer want or need and sells them for 35 cents per pound. The shoes are given to poverty-stricken countries to provide footwear for families who cannot afford to put shoes on their family’s feet, and the money he gets from selling the shoes, goes to dig wells and provide clean drinking water for underprivileged families in Africa and Latin America.
A message on the Shoeman website sums up the program in a few words:
“Shoeman Water Project is a ministry of Eagle Wings Ministries, a non-profit charity, working to alleviate as much human suffering as possible and in the process, maximize fun.  The Project’s work provides affordable shoes in the developing world, life-giving, fresh, clean drinking water to those in need and a splashing good time for the kids.”
George “The Shoeman” Hutchings has collected approximately 500,000 pairs of shoes and has turned them into clean water for the people of Kenya. George and team are now working on bringing clean water to the people of Haiti. After Webery made contact with the project, the pieces began to fall into place.
“Our pastor, Jerry Frye, and the church family readily agreed for us to be a collection point during service times and office hours,” she said. “We have a large white collection bag just inside the door of the family life center.”
Webery went on to say that even though she hasn’t met George yet, his project and his way of thinking makes her think of the quote, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
“We can show we care through support of George’s ministry,” Webery said. “Donating things we no longer need or will use is relatively painless, but it can benefit our brothers and sisters around the world. Perhaps, if people become involved in helping others in this small way they may become more and more unselfish and compassionate toward others.”  
Webery said that the Eldon Church of the Nazarene hopes to get word out to the various service clubs in the area as well as the various ministerial alliances.  
“Any group is welcome and encouraged to be a collection point for their members, and they can drop off items at the Freightways Quonset located on Industrial Park Roadway, at any time,” Webery said. “The project coordinators ask that all shoes be joined as pairs whether through tying, buckling or rubber banding. We hope to have enough shoes and clothes for our first load to go as soon as next week.  We want to be an ongoing part of this project as long as it exists.”
People going to Six Flags this summer can help George and themselves by going to www.sixflags.com and ordering tickets for $25 each instead of the $40 at the gate. Use the promo code: thrive, and $5 from each ticket sold in this manner goes to George’s ministry.
If you would like to help out, bring any unwanted shoes or clothing to the Eldon Church of the Nazarene any Monday, Wednesday or Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or contact the church office at 573 392-3440.

Contact this reporter at mike.jones@lakemediaonline.com.