Giving Back this Thanksgiving: Sole Hope

I love family traditions of all kinds.

Growing up, our family had many traditions for every season. One of the things I was most looking forward to in marrying Jason was creating long lasting family traditions. We have created a few in the almost 3 years of marriage, but not many that revolve around the holidays. And this past year, our hearts have shifted in the types of traditions we want to pass on to our children…

The past few holidays have been spent at other’s homes, but this year we will be in our home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. When Jason and I realized that we would be home for the holidays for the first time, we started to discuss what simple traditions we would want to start. And we got excited!

If you’ve read some of my other posts, Jason and I have taken a different route to purchasing our Christmas gifts this year. Almost every gift we’ve purchased for family, friends, or each other has come from a fair trade shop. We even purchased fair trade chocolate to hand out on Halloween night! We are now known as the family that hands out weird chocolate and strange fliers that inform them on slave trade in the chocolate industry…yep…and we’re proud of it.

One of the blessings in our adoption process has been seeing how God placed in us a passion and desire to help provide opportunities of hope for families who come from hard places (both here in America and around the globe). We’ve also had our hearts broken by the world’s orphan crisis (specifically Africa for us) and the extreme levels of poverty in the world. We wanted this Thanksgiving and this Christmas to not just be about our thankfulness for what we have been given, but to be a part of the work that He is doing around the world to bring all thanks to His Name.

This past summer I heard about an organization called Sole Hope through my friend Megan’s blog. Sole Hope is an organization in Uganda that removes jiggers from the feet of children and adults (watch the video below for what jiggers are…they are NOT chiggers). After they remove and treat the infected feet, they provide handmade shoes for them. These shoes are made two-fold. The “uppers” are cut out of jeans and other material at shoe cutting parties across the US and then the soles of the shoes are made by shoe makers in Uganda. Sole Hope not only provides shoes for people, but jobs and education so that local Ugandans can in turn provide for their families! What an amazing organization!

When I was at the Influence Conference, I was able to attend my first shoe cutting party. It was an amazing experience to trace out the material that would be put on a child’s foot to help protect him or her from further jigger infestation. I also had the chance to hear the founder, Asher Collie, share her heart on stage and I was able to talk to her briefly in person about the work they do and the needs they have in Uganda. My heart broke.

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In America, we all think of shoes as a normal part of our living. I doubt that before I heard of Sole Hope I ever thanked God for healthy feet and shoes to cover and protect them. When I watched this video below, all I could see were the eyes of my children on the other side of the world and I wondered, was there a time when they didn’t have shoes? Did they have sores on their feet and infections that kept them up at night? Those are questions that I will never be able to answer, but what I do know is that right now there are children who need shoes so that they aren’t infested with these nasty bugs. And there’s SOMETHING I can do about it.

As Sole Hope says “Not everyone can do everything, but everyone can do something.” So this Thanksgiving, as my husband’s family gathers around our dinner table, we won’t just be eating delicious food and sharing life, but we will be impacting the lives of children in Uganda through our own little shoe cutting party.

I’m excited to start this family tradition this year and hope that as the years continue, our growing family will be a family that is always tender towards those in need. We’ve been so richly blessed, and have been called to be a blessing to others.

If you’re interested in hosting your own shoe cutting party, click over here to learn more. Also the women of the Influence Network are raising funds for Sole Hope to hire a full time nurse to help with the every growing needs in their community. Every penny counts and we’d love to see Sole Hope hire their nurse before Christmas time! Can you give in honor of your children this Christmas?

To learn more about how we want to serve Sole Hope, head here to Haley’s blog.

To give, go here.