By Felicia Farnsworth
This year’s MLK Day of Service took place on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at Union Springs Elementary School, where Samaritan’s Feet visited the school to wash the student’s feet and fit them with new socks and shoes.
Union Springs Elementary School Principal Derrick Harris said, “On behalf of the faculty and staff, I’d like to thank Samaritan’s Feet, Coach Willie Spears, the entire Athletic Department, and the volunteers for helping to make a difference in the children’s lives.”
Volunteers consisted of the Bullock County Football Team, Cheer Squad, Track Team, Chilly’s Ice Cool Band - Mrs. Lucy Cooks, Mrs. O’Neal, Mrs. Ivey, and Jackie Jordan, as well as Commissioner Don Larkins, Virginia Banks, Patricia Young, and others.
“I was so happy to see the children’s smiling faces as they received their free socks and shoes.
"We are truly living Dr. King’s dream of giving to those in need and bringing HOPE for the future!” commented Principal Harris.
Phil Campbell is the Regional Director of Operations for Samaritan’s Feet. The organization was founded in 2003 and Campbell has been with them for fourteen of those fifteen years.
The organization has given out over seven million pairs of socks and shoes to deserving students in 108 nations and 389 U.S. cities.
“The goal is to create a world with zero shoeless children and to bring a sense of HOPE to their lives. It’s all about the kids! Dream BIG Dreams!” said Campbell.
Samaritan’s Feet brings their message of HOPE through a four-year grant from the Corporation for National Service (CNCS) and an additional partnership with Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Bullock County Football Coach Willie Spears helped to bring Samaritan’s Feet to Union Springs after knowing about them giving out 500 pairs of socks and shoes to deserving elementary students that were bussed to Carver High School in Montgomery in 2018.
Coach Spears said. “We thought it would be a great opportunity to teach the high school students servant leadership. This is more for us then it is for the elementary students. We’re grateful to Principal Harris (USES) and Principal James (BCHS) for allowing us to serve the community.”
High school student and cheerleader, Aaliyah Johnson, a senior at BCHS said, “It feels so good to be able to make a difference in the younger kids lives.”
Eleventh grade football player, Xabien “Zae” Hilton said, “It feels good to give back and help the little kids feel good about themselves.”
Senior, Harmonie Gachett, also a cheerleader, said, “I’m glad I got to help the kids in need. It’s a great cause!”
Eleventh Grader Kendall Stevenson, a football player for BCHS, really got into what he was doing for the kids. He spoke to every child who sat across from him.
He even spoke in Spanish to one little girl to make her feel a little more comfortable while he washed her feet.
He was genuinely interested in what every child had to say. When asked about his experience, he replied; “I like it! I love helping kids!”
The effect this event had on our community has been a very joyous and humbling experience for all who attended.