Imagine sitting alone in the cold and rain – no home, no car, little money, shoes worn out, the cold seeping in through gaping holes.
A person stops their car, gets out and approaches. They offer kindness, conversation and a new pair of shoes. Maybe even socks and a new coat.
This scenario is exactly what ‘The Walk a Mile in their shoes’ project is about each year. It’s the mission Galilee Baptist Church of Hallsville embraces annually.
The homeless outreach project is organized by 33 the Ministry, where once each quarter volunteers travel into homeless camps in the area giving away shoes, blankets and other necessities.
The nonprofit was started by Robert and Kathleen Fennell Adams who were made aware of homeless people that were walking the streets with holes in their shoes. After spending some time in prayer to see where God was leading them, the ministry was born.
To date, the organization has given away 27 pairs of shoes, 221 blankets, 134 stocking caps, 122 pairs of gloves, 40 bibles, two tents, 69 tarps, 31 bus passes, 175 pairs of socks, 20 bags of hygiene products and have prayed specific prayers with 243 people. They have ministered to have ministered to 235 homeless men, 101 homeless women and two homeless children.
Each year, for the past five years, Galilee Baptist Church of Hallsville has had a shoe collection to aid 33 the Ministry. Throughout the month of September the church collects shoes as well as other items such as blankets, socks, gloves and some belts.
“If your feet are warm, then you are warm,” says Marie Johnson-Crayton, ministry leader for Walk a Mile in Their Shoes project at the church. “When people need help, and God calls you to do something, you step out on faith and just do it.”
On the first Sunday in October, the church presents the gathered items to the ministry project. Volunteers with 33 the Ministry then distribute them on an as needed basis to those who are homeless.
“We want people to stop and take a moment and ‘walk a mile in their shoes,’” Robert Adams, the president and founder of 33 the ministry, said.
In the midst of the distribution, ministry volunteers take time to talk, to learn the stories of those who are homeless.
“In reality, each homeless person has had something bad happen and the majority simply don’t know how to get back from it,” Adams said.
While distributing the items, the ministry also has the ability to connect those who are homeless with resources available in the area. The organization focuses on Marshall and Longview primarily during the colder months. They hold off on Thanksgiving and Christmas since many other organizations distribute on the holidays.
This year, Galilee Baptist Church was able to collect 30 to 50 pairs of shoes for the ministry project. Over the years, many people have donated to the effort, including members of Hallsville’s class of 1984.
“We enjoy doing it and are glad we are able to help,” Johnson-Crayton said.
Anyone wanting to help can go to www.33theminsitry.com for more information.