VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: JESSICA

Jessica first learned about Samaritan’s Feet at the Barefoot Gala and was immediately drawn to it. She has served in both the US and in Uganda with us. Thank you, Jessica, for serving so compassionately!

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I attended the 2019 Barefoot Gala and remember sitting at the table and thinking “Yes! I want to serve with this team! Seriously, can we leave tomorrow?” I had just begun a job with Charlotte Christian school and knew one of my responsibilities in this role would be to lead students on a mission team, and now this unexpected open for was going to help make that happen. Because of COVID-19, it took a few years, but in January of 2022, we took a group of students to the Texas-Mexico border. 

IT WAS EVIDENT THAT SAMARITAN'S FEET TAKES THE TIME TO INVEST IN THE COMMUNITIES THEY SERVE, TRANSCENDING BEYONG SHORT-TERM MISSIONS TO BUILD GENUINE RELATIONSHIPS WITH PEOPLE.

From that moment, I fell in love with Samaritan’s Feet and knew I wanted to become more involved. So later in 2022, I went to Uganda with a team.

While we were in Uganda, we visited a primary school in Lugazi to do a shoe distribution. As the mothers sat and waited to see what we were going to do with their children, I remember seeing one lady in particular, she had a black lace top on under a red dress. Her body language was closed off as she watched us, the same way I would protectively evaluate a stranger attempting to interact with my child. At the end of the distribution, I noticed the woman in the red dress and she was GLOWING. She was physically smiling so big, even her eyes were smiling. Her soul radiated joy and you could feel it just looking at her.

Hope is a dynamic and powerful word that brings meaning to life, transforming us from merely existing to actively living. And, the gift of shoes meets people where they are and connects with their spiritual, emotional, and social needs bringing joy to the receiver.

To a struggling parent, new shoes for a child is a weight lifted. To no longer bear the guilt and inadequacy felt from seeing the discomfort and pain caused by ill fitting shoes or bare feet. Or witnessing their child, who has never before worn a pair of shoes, run freely without scanning the ground in front of them for items that may cause pain or infection.

While serving at the respite centers in Texas, a pair of shoes meant a fresh start and compassion. As immigrants are granted asylum, they enter the US with no shoe laces in their shoes, a visibly obvious indicator of their recent journey. A journey that is often met with prejudice and strong opinions, creating division in the same place that one is seeking refuge. The gift of new shoes as these individuals stepped foot into the US for the very first time, removed this visible label and allowed them the opportunity to feel welcomed and valued.

In countries like Uganda, shoes mean protection from the elements, lesions, and bacteria. Thus providing protection from diseases and infection in areas where there is a lack of access to medical care, potentially resulting in sickness or death. Shoes represent the answered prayers of faithful people who have been praying for aid and a sign of hope for the future.

Louder than the obvious practical meaning of a pair of shoes, is the message those shoes send saying “God sees you.” After witnessing distributions among various communities, it is evident these shoes are vessels for God to move through. While all we can do alone is meet an individual’s practical needs, God uses these shoes to meet the deeper unspoken needs of His people. The need for reassurance, self-worth, comfort, validation, belonging, to feel seen and known, and so much more.

THANK YOU JESSICA FOR SERVING WITH SUCH A COMPASSIONATE SPIRIT. SAMARITAN'S FEET IS SO GRATEFUL FOR YOU!