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Give them shoes, give them hope

August 21, 2012 | Chase Replogle

If you talk with Seth McCurley about the internship he did after graduating in May, be ready to volunteer.

His passion is that convincing.

McCurley earned a degree in Theology with a minor in Public Relations/Advertising from Evangel University. The combination proved to be a perfect fit for him and his passion to help others.

“I appreciate that Evangel is not a Bible school, it is a liberal arts university,” McCurley says. “The mix of courses gave me a well-rounded approach to life.”

The three-month internship was with Samaritan’s Feet, a nonprofit based out of Charlotte, North Carolina. With the help of more than 70,000 volunteers, they have distributed an estimated 4 million pairs of shoes.  Less than 30 people are employed with Samaritan’s Feet, so the volunteers play a vital role.

For McCurley, Samaritan’s Feet is about more than providing shoes, it’s about providing hope.

“When you provide a pair of shoes to a child in need, their lives may literally be altered,” McCurley says.

Seth McCurly at Samaritan's Feet internship

Seth McCurly met this little girl who flung her arms around him and didn’t let go. Giving children like this love and hope is what Samaritan’s Feet is all about.

“The feet of the recipients are washed by volunteers before they place socks and shoes on their feet. We pray together with those we are serving, and the children are encouraged not only to dream, but to fight for their dream.”

McCurley traveled to Peru for shoe distributions in June. The trip was a moving experience.

One little girl came to him to receive her shoes, but instead of telling him her name and shoe size, she wrapped her arms around his neck and wouldn’t let go.

“She didn’t want to tell me her information,” McCurley says, “because she didn’t want me to give her the shoes and be done. I just took her over to the recreation area and played with her for about 45 minutes. They don’t get loved on like that.”

A local woman brought the volunteers a gift of thanks, a bottle of their favorite soda, which in comparison to U.S. standards would have been like being given a $200 watch. The beverage was shared and savored as the valuable gift it was meant to be.

“The experience with Samaritan’s Feet has given me such a heart for nonprofits,” McCurley says. “I think this is where my life might be headed.”

“The main mission of Samaritan’s Feet is to spread hope. You have a little kid who is growing like a weed. You give him a pair of shoes, and in a few months, the shoes won’t even fit. But to be able to sit down and pray with him, that’s what it’s all about.”

— Senior social work major Mehleena Edmonds and Valorie Coleman, assistant public relations director

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