Man on mission to save soles for needy children

Published on Sunday, 16 March 2014 00:18 - Written by Betty Waters

A recently launched shoe ministry will give needy children in Tyler and Jacksonville new or “gently used” shoes.

Approximately 200 pairs of shoes have been collected since January. However, the drive for more shoe donations continues.

Daniel Minton, who grew up in Tyler and now works here, is on a mission to give back to the community through the shoe ministry for children.

Minton said Calvin Brown, of Jacksonville, who spearheads the Brothers on the Move Ministry, which does charitable projects in Jacksonville, approached him with the idea.

At the time, Minton was employed at the Bonner Street Plaza in Jacksonville, but now is marketing/admissions director for The Plaza on Rice Road in Tyler, both are skilled nursing home/rehabilitation facilities.

The pair set out in mid-January to collect donations of new or “gently used” shoes for children ages 2 through 18.

At last count, they had accumulated approximately 200 pairs of shoes, but Minton said they are just gearing up and hope more people will drop off more shoes at The Plaza and Bonner Street Plaza.

The first distribution of shoes will be 8 a.m. to noon April 26 at Norman Activity Center in Jacksonville. A second distribution is being planned for Tyler in August. A date and location for the Tyler distribution has yet to be announced.

There are international programs that collect shoes for children in other countries.

“I love to give internationally, but I think it’s important for us to wrap our arms around our kids here and the families here,” Minton said.

All shoes given to the shoe ministry will stay in East Texas to help local children and families, Minton stressed, pointing out there are families in neighborhoods here that are struggling to provide shoes to children.

“There’s a lot of families who do the best they can for their kids and to get them a new pair of shoes or a pair of gently used shoes would be a load off,” Minton said.

As long as a family member has ID showing they are from this area, if they show up with a child for the distribution of shoes, Minton said he will assume the child is in need of shoes and give a pair without doing an extensive background check on the family’s economic level.

“Being a kid these days is not the easiest thing … let kids have a decent pair of shoes that don’t hurt their feet instead of a ratty pair and be a kid and run and play,” Minton said.

“If somebody shows up, that tells me they are in need (I’ll do my best to help),” Minton said.

Minton encouraged individuals, businesses and churches to donate shoes to the shoe ministry. “This is a grassroots thing. Every single person in East Texas can be a part of it. We can all jump on board and either bless children or get their children to be blessed,” he said.

In addition to waging the continuing campaign for donations of shoes from local residents, Minton plans to apply in July to participate in Walmart’s shoe voucher grant program. If approved, the shoe ministry would be able to give vouchers to families to take to Walmart for shoes.

If businesses or churches want to collect donations of shoes for the shoe ministry, Minton said he would pick up the shoes. They can call him at 903-561-6060.

“This will be an on-going (campaign) for years to come and get bigger and bigger,” Minton predicted. “This is a work in progress,” he said.