Samford aims to provide shoes to children in Dominicacomment (0)
June 5, 2014
Samford University in Birmingham is attempting to provide shoes to children of an entire nation — and the initial project is to raise funds to purchase up to 6,000 pairs of shoes. As of May 20, more than $40,000 had been raised.
“Leadership isn’t defined by enrollment. It’s defined by clarity of purpose and commitment to realizing the potential within,” said Samford President Andrew Westmoreland, who announced the undertaking in March. “This is not a timid goal. But if acting boldly inspires another school to do the same in service to others, then we have succeeded in a much bigger sense.”
Samford has aligned its resources with Charlotte, N.C.-based Samaritan’s Feet to shoe the entire nation of Dominica. Working on a project with such a huge goal will give alumni, faculty, staff and students an opportunity to come together in a unique and powerful way, Samford officials noted. Lack of adequate footwear is more than a simple inconvenience, they added, noting that millions of people worldwide die because of the spread of diseases contracted through unprotected feet.
Martin Newton, Samford’s athletics director, said, “For most of us, shoes are a luxury item, something we take for granted. But for others in the world, those who live on roughly $2.50 per day, shoes and clothing are a vital necessity.”
In 2013, Samford’s student athletes partnered with Samaritan’s Feet to provide shoes to Birmingham’s inner-city children, many of whom could not afford the socks and shoes necessary to wear to school.
Colin Coyne, Samford’s chief strategy officer, said, “Too often as a university or a state or a nation, we fail to realize the power we have in coming together to conquer a common goal. We have the capacity to do remarkable things if we’ll allow ourselves the freedom to imagine them.
“While shoes are the vehicle in this instance, our vision and long-term commitment are much deeper,” he said. “Our interest is in ministry, health, education, global outreach and so much more.
“Our goal is to make this project an annual opportunity, both deeper with Dominica and potentially broader with shoes for another nation.”
Students from Samford’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy, athletes, administration, alumni and faculty will travel to Dominica on July 27 to make sure no child in the country goes without shoes.
For more information about the Samaritan’s Feet partnership, email Coyne at email@example.com.