Appalachian Ministries (AM), an outreach program run through University of the Cumberlands (UC), recently hosted its annual Shoes 4 the Soul event on UC’s campus. 

Each year, just as a new school year begins, students and staff from University of the Cumberlands assist hundreds of children by providing new shoes, socks, and backpacks filled with school supplies at Shoes 4 the Soul. The event is a way for Cumberlands to serve the community and children within the Whitley County area.

Approximately 500 children from Williamsburg Independent, Boston Elementary, Pleasant View Elementary, Whitley North Elementary, Whitley East Elementary, and Oak Grove Elementary were welcomed onto campus for the event. 

During Shoes 4 the Soul, Cumberlands students, faculty, and staff washed the feet of the children and fit them with their new shoes and socks. Children also had the opportunity to spend time with Cumberlands students while participating in a variety of organized games and activities, such as face-painting, juggling, and cornhole.

“This event allows the kiddos to see how loved they are,” said Jasmine Newport, Director of AM.  “Kids deserve a pair of new shoes every year and most families in this area cannot afford them. These kids get the chance to experience something that they will remember for the rest of their lives.”

All UC students participate in community service each semester as part of Cumberlands’ mission of serving others. Shoes 4 the Soul is an opportunity for UC students to learn more about their new community while putting smiles on the faces of local children.

“As far as the volunteers go, it teaches them what it looks like to be servant leaders,” said Newport. “They are humbled once they see what the kids experience on a daily basis.”

Shoes 4 the Soul first began at Cumberlands in 2011 and has touched the lives of more than 2,100 local children to date. The program will help another 500 children this year.

Located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction offering quality undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and online degree programs. Learn more at