The founder of Samaritan’ Feet International, Manny Ohonme, played basketball at Lake Region State College and met his wife, Tracie, in Devils Lake. So as part of the nationwide Samaritan’s Feet 2015 Back to School program, LRSC held a distribution event for the second year in a row at Peace Lutheran Church to equip students in need of new shoes.
A registered number of 250 children received new shoes and had their feet washed. Royal student athletes were a big part of the event.
“It’s a very special experience,” LRSC athletic director Danny Mertens said. “It’s one of those heartwarming things. We take everything for granted. Something that’s so small like putting a pair of shoes on a 3-6-year-old. It’s good for us to give back to the committee. We have to get involved and this is a great way to do that.”
The 250 shoes given out was up from 160 last year. Next year, as the 75th anniversary of the school, Mertens said his goal is to hand out 750 pairs of shoes to kids in need.
They will collect shoes at the LRSC volleyball game against Bottineau on Sept. 21. Shoe collection will also take place during the basketball season at a home game where the coaches will be barefoot.
Regional coordinator Denise Blomberg pointed to Devils Lake as being a great community to support the program. Some drove 45 miles for the event.
And watching the student athletes come together to help out was special.
“To see the quantity of student-athletes from Lake Region is nothing less than amazing,” Blomberg said. “The leadership at the school, them using their platform to draw awareness for what we do is so evident in them
wanting to bring their players in.”
Since its founding by Ohonme in 2003, Samaritan’s Feet and its team of ambassadors and partners have blessed more than 6.5 million children in more than 75 nations. For more information about Samaritan’s Feet
International, visit www.SamaritansFeet.org.