A church in Massachusetts recently distributed more than 1,000 pairs of sneakers to low-income families in their community.
According to The Christian Post, the Springfield campus of the multisite Vox Church held its third annual sneaker giveaway event, which was done in partnership with the local chapter of the Boys & Girls Club.
Vox Springfield team member Dan Tedone, who led the event, told The Christian Post that every child in attendance was given a pair of sneakers and a backpack filled with school supplies.
“Vox Church is grateful to Health New England, Yankee Home Improvement, Springfield Together, and Bethany Assemblies of God for donating additional cash to purchase the remaining sneakers and provide funding for the event,” Tedone said.
Tedone noted that the giveaway occurred after Springfield campus Pastor Matt DeCiccio sought ways to “make an impact in the city.”
During its inaugural event in 2021, the church distributed around 600 pairs of sneakers to students in need. In 2022, they handed out around 1,000 pairs of shoes.
“By the third year, the event has an amazing reputation in the city and local businesses and churches were ready to donate funds or products,” Tedone said.
“Many of Springfield’s leaders joined the event, from the mayor of Springfield to a state Senate representative to City Council members. This wouldn’t have been possible without support from numerous community partners.”
Tedone described the event as “unique,” noting that attendees not only receive new sneakers and backpacks but experience hope.
“We don’t merely give the students new sneakers. A volunteer sits down across from them, asks them their name, how old they are, what they like to do, and then asks if they can take off their shoes and wash their feet,” he explained.
“Every child has the option to say no, and we will always respect their decision, but over 95 percent of the students in attendance say yes. Volunteers wash the student’s feet, explaining that we serve because Jesus served us. In many cases, this action leads to an opportunity to pray with the child and the parents.”
Tedone asserted that the event “demonstrates the hope and love of Jesus to children and families in the City of Springfield” and is a way that his church desires to “see New England transformed from the least churched region in America to the most spiritually vibrant place on earth.”
Photo courtesy: ©Jaye Haych/Unsplash
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.