The congregation of Life Point Church was challenged by pastor Darrell Nickles on December 6 to “give as though they were rich people.” The money was promised to go to charity, spreading the love of Christ and helping those in need this holy time of year.
The members of the church heard the request and opened their hearts and checkbooks to give generously.
“We do this every year, with the idea of giving 100 percent of the proceeds to the community, where it is needed,” Nickles said. “Last year, we bought Christmas gifts for the children living with their moms at the Stepping Stone house. This year, we wanted to provide new shoes for the children who need them most.”
Thanks to the many caring followers of Christ’s word, nearly 400 children received new shoes this year.
The initial idea was to raise enough money to provide new shoes for the students of Portsmouth Elementary. They easily accomplished this, providing 147 pairs for the young Trojans.
So much was given, however, that the church realized they could spread further into the county.
“The offering was so huge that we were able to include New Boston, Wheelersburg, West Portsmouth, Minford, Sciotoville Academy, South Webster, and more,” Nickles said. “It has been amazing.”
In order to make an even larger impact, the church partnered with other area organizations to fund shoes for more students.
The partnership included Scioto Shoe Mart, Nelson Swick Funeral Home, Christ Sanctuary, Monroe Cleaning, and South Webster Community Church.
To locate the kids most in need, Nickles reached out to Mark and Virgie Hunter, of the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund.
“The elementary school principal at Portsmouth explained that the Steven Hunter Hope Fund has really already identified the children who are most in need, so the church went in and put new shoes on the feet of some of those kids,” Nickles explained.
The Hunters’ organization is a non-profit with the mission of providing meals for food-insecure children in Scioto, Pike, and Adams Counties, with room for growth. Mark Hunter has grown the organization with speed in recent years, currently impacting around 880 students.
“It is just amazing. It is like an answered prayer, to have them come in and take care of these kids,” Mark Hunter said. “We were always hoping other groups would join and help with these kids, when we started four years ago. We are so blessed to have Life Point and others see the need and give.”
The Hunters were at Portsmouth Elementary when students received their shoes.
“It was amazing to see their little faces light up and see how much they are cared for,” Mark Hunter said. “It was amazing for the volunteers, too. It honestly turned many sad faces upside down.”
After deciding to help provide shoes for some of the Power Pack children, Nickles gained another important partner with Scioto Shoe Mart.
Scioto Shoe Mart visited the schools to measure the feet of the children receiving shoes. The business was also able to help the church find what they needed at the best price.
Nickles holds both of these partnerships in high regards, saying the mission wouldn’t have been possible without them. He also recognizes the other churches and sponsors, who helped afford the extra students in the county.
Volunteers of Life Point met with the children, cleaned their feet, and gave them new socks and shoes. Many of the volunteers were brought to tears during this emotional event, especially when some of the children couldn’t understand the reason for the generosity.
“Several of the younger kids were asking why we were doing this,” Life Point’s Virgil Howard said,” and you just kind of tell them ‘Hey, we love you. Jesus loves you. We are doing this, because we care about you.’”
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.