Using Rural Compassion Initiative, local church distributes new shoes to Bois D’Arc students

Steve Chapman

The excitement can be clearly seen on the faces of Aubrie Gerla (left) and Sophia Lanter as they open their boxes of new shoes.

The students of Bois D’Arc Elementary, about 145 in all, received an unexpected gift when they reported to the school gymnasium on the afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 1. There, waiting for them on the gym floor, were gift-wrapped boxes, one for each student. Inside each box was a new pair of name-brand shoes

The shoes were provided by Convoy of Hope and a partnering shoe company through their Rural Compassion Initiative. Robin Packwood, a member of Calvary Christian Assembly of God, completed the application process for the shoe distribution.

Packwood said she and her husband, Jonathan Packwood, work closely with Convoy; Jonathan drives semi-trucks for them. She said that was how she learned of the program.

“We heard about this program where schools here in rural America could get shoes if they qualified,” she said, “and so we thought, ‘Hey, that would be great for Bois D’Arc School.’ So, we went through the application process and shared the idea with Ms. Julian (school principal) and our pastor. Everybody was on board with it, and we were able to make it all come together.”

Planning for the students began in September, with volunteers from Calvary Christian measuring the students’ feet for their shoes. To keep from spoiling the surprise, Principal Julian told the students her son, Brody, was completing a math project and needed to measure about 200 feet.

When the shoes were revealed, several of the students shouted in delight as they found the surprise in the box waiting for them, and most of them tried on their new shoes.

Elizabeth Davidson, 11, a sixth-grade student at Bois D’Arc Elementary, said she was surprised and delighted when she found out she was getting a new pair of shoes.
“I like them,” she said. “I wanted a pair of shoes when I was a little bit (younger) like those.”
Elizabeth added she would probably wear them “as house shoes.”
Gifting the students with shoes, with the help of Convoy, was just the latest way Calvary Christian has worked to benefit Bois D’Arc Elementary. The church has also painted some of the school’s classrooms, and closer to the beginning of the school year, stocked a refrigerator at the school with drinks and snacks for the teachers and staff. Pastor Floyd McDonnell said the church is doing what it can to help the school.
“We just adopted Bois D’Arc Elementary School for our church, (so) we’re just loving on them and (serving them) any way we can … no strings attached,” he said.
The shoes were estimated to sell at a retail value of $65 each. With 145 pairs distributed, the total estimated value of the shoes was $9,425.


Lawrence County Record

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