NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - For the past 10 years, 15-year-old Emily Martinez has been a part of Glory Gang, which is a non-profit outreach dedicated to helping at-risk children.
She has six other siblings which she said has been difficult for her mom to support financially.
“My mom is currently paying a college tuition for my brother, she couldn’t afford seven shoes at the moment and this is just really helping us because they’re happy, and this is like their second pair and probably the first pair,” said Martinez.
Thanks to a partnership with Samaritans Feet, which provides new shoes to children around the world, Glory Gang was able to provide 400 kids with new shoes, socks, backpacks, and school supplies for the new school year.
“For me, I always see in my neighborhood kids with their shoes with no laces, all ripped up and stuff and us receiving shoes we barely have that much money to get Nike’s and Jordan’s and I think this is a great thing that they’re doing,” said Martinez.
Pastor Bobby Smith has helped with the back to school event for the past 12 years and has seen firsthand how the kids are impacted.
“Obviously, one of the things that will be accomplished is children will go to school and they’ll have some of the equipment they need like shoes and backpacks and school supplies to be able to compete and to be able to thrive in the school setting," said Smith.
Before the kids received their new shoes, volunteers cleaned their feet to show Gods love.
“And so one of the ways that we think is the best way to do it is to be the example that Christ was. He served other people even his disciples, He served them by washing their feet and showing them how much He loved them," said Smith.
“I really recommend Glory Gang because it’s a great place to be and learn about our heavenly father and it really helps you out and it makes you happy, it makes you a better person," said Martinez.
So far in 2019, Samaritan’s Feet has distributed 327,480 pairs of shoes across the United States and around the world.