“No gifts requested” is common on invitations to birthday parties for older folks. Kids, on the other hand, like to get presents. Thomas Martinez, the son of Toby and Jenny Martinez, Pratt, has the plans all figured out for his sixth birthday party in August. He wants shoes, lots of them. But not for himself.
After seeing a commercial on TV, he asked his mom if there was room on invitations asking his friends to not bring a gift for him, but shoes to be given away to orphans.
The request did not seem out of the ordinary, Jenny Martinez said.
“He’s always coming up with super ideas and has the biggest heart of any 5-year-old I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing,” she commented.
She posted an announcement on her Facebook page and the family held a shoe drive at the Pratt Walmart store on July 21. To date, Thomas has collected more than 80 pairs of new shoes, along with about $200 in cash donations to buy more shoes.
Mom and Dad did some investigating, and found a Texas-based organization called Shoes for Orphan Souls that provides new shoes and socks to orphans in the United States and 74 other countries throughout the world.
The family hopes to collect 300 pairs of shoes to be shipped in early August. New leather shoes or canvas sneakers are needed in all sizes for both boys and girls. The greatest need is for tweens and teens, sizes 1 and up. Shoes for Orphan Souls suggests placing a special photo or note inside the shoes for the child who receives them.
The mission of Shoes for Orphan Souls is to provide new shoes to the world’s 143 million orphans, to the vulnerable children living in families earning less than $1 a day, to the working poor in the United States who need shoes to send their children to school; and to the needy among us, according to the website, www.buckner.org/shoes.
Donations may be left at Pratt Family Practice, where Jenny Martinez is employed, or at their home at 1305 Holly. Collection will continue through July.