Church works to break world record
HOUSTON Collecting donated shoes is the goal, and those involved believe they've received enough donations to break the Guinness World Record. At 86 years old, volunteer Dodie Beazley won't let age stop her from helping others. "As long as you can sit in a chair, you can do this kind of work," she said. Ever since the drive began 10 years ago, she's been there with other volunteers unpacking and untying -- doing anything to make sure kids have a good pair of shoes. "They seem to be thrilled and excited. Some of the children even cry," Beazley said. Since 2000, South Main Baptist Church has collected more than 60,000 pairs of shoes, which have been delivered to needy orphans all across the globe, including the US. Each pair is packed with a friendship bracelet and a handwritten letter from children in our community. "Jesus loves you' so do we," kid volunteer Lauren Rader wrote in one of her letters. "These are going to the children, and they know that they're giving those children hope," volunteer Gillian Cooke said. The effort has gone so well that this year, organizers set out on a new goal; it's to break a world record. "We thought it would be fun to establish a goal of 10,000 pairs of shoes to celebrate the 10th anniversary," said Henry Hill with South Main Baptist Church. On Saturday, the church plans to create the world's largest chain of shoes. More than 20,000 will be placed back-to-back at the church's parking lot. While the feat would be huge, organizers hope that more importantly, it'll draw attention to their cause. "Every pair of shoes represents a child; that's what's important about the effort," Hill said. It's an effort Beazley and every volunteer the room is glad to be a part of. "We've spent many long hours doing it, but it's worthwhile, and we really enjoy it," Beazley said. Organizers believe they're collected about 10,000 shoes, which is equivalent to almost 53 football fields or almost four miles of shoes. Even though they might have reached their record, the church is still accepting new shoes as well as financial donations.
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