WDAY: The News Leader

Published September 15, 2013, 08:45 PM

Samaritan’s Feet distributes 300 shoes to local children

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - More than a million people around the world die each year as a result of having no shoes on their feet.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - More than a million people around the world die each year as a result of having no shoes on their feet.

A charity founded by a couple with local ties is determined to change that and today, they tackled the issue locally.

Samaritan's Feet held its first shoe distribution in Fargo today.

Robin Gonzales says children can always use a new pair of shoes.

That's why she brought her daughter Lanae to the Samaritan's Feet shoe giveaway.

Robin Gonzales- Fargo Resident: "It's a good experience for the kids. I think it helps a lot of parents out for the kids that need shoes."

Samaritan's Feet teamed up with Hope Lutheran Church and the Bison men's basketball team to make sure local kids have something on their feet.

Back in December, Coach Saul Phillips went barefoot during a game to raise money for the organization.

Saul Phillips- Bison Basketball Coach: "It's unfathomable to think that a kid has to worry about shoes. It's such a basic need for all of us."

Before the children sport their new kicks, volunteers wash their feet.

Phililps: "It's symbolic; it's symbolic of our service toward the kids. It's a chance to meet one-on-one with these kids; look them in the eye."

For ten years, Samaritan's Feet has been doing these shoe distributions around the country and sometimes overseas, but this is the first one they've actually done in North Dakota; giving out 300 pairs of shoes to local children.

Co-founders Manny and Tracie Ohonme have local roots.

Tracie is from Devil's Lake and Manny is an NDSU grad school alumnus originally from Nigeria, where he didn't get his first pair of shoes until age nine.

Tracie Ohonme- Samaritan’s Feet Co-Founder: "Just reading through some literature this morning that there are 7,000 kids in the Fargo-Moorhead area that are on free and reduced lunch. Some of those statistics across the U.S. I think surprise all of us that there is great need, even in our own community."

5-year-old Lanae already has big plans for her new shoes.

Lanae: "To play in and run faster and jump higher!"

The Ohonme's now live in North Carolina.

Their goal is to put shoes on 10 million children.