Students from across campus at University of the Cumberlands (UC) came together Aug. 25, 2017, to serve 500 children from five local elementary schools during the annual Shoes 4 the Soul event.

Each year, as local children return to school for the new year, Cumberlands invites them to visit campus to have their feet washed and to receive new shoes, socks, and backpacks filled with school supplies.

“We are not called to just love people by using words, but we are called to serve them through action,” said Jasmine Newport, organizer of the event, UC’s Associate Campus Minister, and Director of Appalachian Ministries. “I believe that an event like this helps students to understand what it really looks like to be a servant leader.”

During the event, in addition to having their feet washed, children were given the opportunity to interact with UC students through a variety of games and activities. The freshman class served periodically throughout the morning, as well as members of 12 athletic teams from the University.

For the participating children, Shoes 4 the Soul was an opportunity to start the new year on the right foot. For the UC students dedicating their morning to the event, it was an introduction to the University’s mission of serving others.

“I think it’s great that we’re here for [the kids],” said Johanna Wilson, a junior from Pearland, Texas, who volunteered during the event. “Not just the fact that these kids are here to get their feet washed, but for us it just opens our eyes to a good way to give back.”

Shoes 4 the Soul, organized this year by Appalachian Ministries, was made possible thanks to the generosity of faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the University, as well as several local organizations and regional donors. This year, in support of the project, more than $8,800 was raised during the University’s summer fundraising campaign at the time of this publication.

In addition to shoes, socks, and backpacks, students also received dental kits supplied by Dr. John Mountjoy of Williamsburg. The kits were organized by Mountain Outreach, another service organization at UC, and funded by Corrine Grauber, a friend of the University.

To learn more about Shoes 4 the Soul and how you can help, please visit