By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Two traditions joined forces last month at the Payless ShoeSource in Millington.
Dec. 20 marked the fifth year of Dream Interfaith Ministries (a 501(c) 3 non-profit) conducted the Holiday Shoe Giveaway. And for several years the Sigma Lambda Lambda Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity have participated in charitable efforts across Shelby County.
The men in purple and gold made their presences felt in Flag City assisting event organizers like Irene Beach, Tyra Robinson and Debra Sigee with task like registrations and helping recipients.
“We always do a service project around the Christmas season,” civil activity spokesperson Jeremiah Watson said. “We take on varies task. So with our connection to Mrs. Sigee, we came out to Millington.”
For more than 6 hours, the 16 Que members reached the top shelves for children giving them the shoe they desired. The opportunity was made possible by the grant applied for by Sigee on behalf of Dream Interfaith Ministries.
DIM was selected for the fifth year for the worldwide competitive Payless ShoeSource Foundation Shoes for Kids Grant.
The Payless Shoe Source Foundation invests financially in nonprofit organizations that fit within their core focus area: supporting children and families in need. Priority is given to organizations that most directly provide basic human needs, including food, shelter and clothing to families who are facing financial hardships or have been impacted by crisis situations, including natural disasters. Additional consideration is provided to non-profits that can demonstrate a measurable impact in their communities.
Watson said Omega Psi Phi’s mission lines up directly with the purpose of the shoe giveaway.
“You really don’t how blessed you are simply having something like a pair of shoes,” he said, “until you meet somebody who doesn’t have a decent pair of shoes. So to help a child who has outgrown their shoes get a new comfortable pair gives you a warm feeling inside.”
Watson said the Ques interacting with the recipients and their parents had a large impact. He noted seeing how children who received new shoes took off old one two or three sizes too small.
“The need is definitely there,” he concluded. “Kids go back to school with warn shoes on their feet. The (shoe giveaway) tradition brings an ongoing opportunity for those in need. It helps those parents who don’t have the allocated funds to provide new shoes for their child.”
For information about Dream Interfaith Ministries, contact Beach at 487-7747. And for more information about the Sigma Lambda Lambda Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, visit www.memphisques.com