Feb. 6, 2009
When your bare feet hit the floor for the first time on these cold north Florida mornings, it sends a shiver up your spine. Could you imagine that shiver being the norm? Unfortunately, it is for some because over 50 percent of the world’s children will never be able to afford a pair of shoes. In 2003, the organization Samaritan’s Feet was started with the goal to provide 10 million pairs of shoes for 10 million impoverished people in 10 years and Florida State women’s basketball head coach Sue Semrau wants to help the cause.
When the No. 15-ranked Seminoles host 8th-ranked North Carolina on Friday, February 13th, Semrau and members of her staff will coach the game in their bare feet to raise awareness for Samaritan’s Feet. Fans can help too. Not by coming to the game barefoot but by coming to the game and donating a new or slightly-used pair of shoes to Samaritan’s Feet. The donation will not only provide support for a worthy cause, but will allow free admission to the FSU vs. UNC game on February 13th.
President and Founder Manny Ohonme began the organization in 2003 because of a personal experience. Ohonme received his first pair of shoes at the age of nine from a missionary. He earned a scholarship to play basketball at University of North Dakota (Lake Region) where he received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.
There have been many men’s basketball coaches involved in the project. IUPUI men’s basketball head coach Ron Hunter has coached barefoot in a game two straight seasons. Semrau will be one of the first female coaches to get involved in the project.
“When I first learned that Coach Hunter over in Indiana was coaching barefoot, it piqued my curiosity,” Semrau said. “After making a phone call to Samaritan’s Feet and hearing the story of how it developed, it just caught my heart and I thought, wow, this would be a great way to help.”
Every day over 300 million children around the world go shoeless and in places like Guatemala, ringworm and other infectious and deadly diseases are a natural way of life for children due to not having shoes.
“For me and my staff, we may think it’s inconvenient to coach a game barefoot while there are people, across the world, that are living their lives barefoot,” Semrau said. “I think about the cold weather, I think about the hurt they encounter day after day and hour after hour.”
Fans will also have the opportunity to donate money toward the project which will help fund the cost to ship the shoes to the needy locations.
Samaritan’s Feet Facts/Goals
• President and Founder-Manny Ohonme
• Started in 2003
• Goal to provide-10 million shoes for 10 million impoverished people in 10 years
• To Date: Collected 900,000 pairs of shoes for children around the world
• Samaritan’s Feet is a humanitarian non-profit relief organization dedicated to taking a life-changing message of hope and equipping the feet of impoverished children in the US and around the world with shoes.
• Worldwide Headquarters-Charlotte, North Carolina
• Geographic Focus-USA, Africa, South America, Caribbean.
• Past Domestic Projects: Biloxi, MS, Long Beach, MS; South Dakota, Jolo and Bradshaw, WV, St. Louis, MO, Charlotte, NC, Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland, etc.
• Past International Projects: 42 Countries, such as Tsunami- Sri Lanka; Romania, Ukraine, Haiti, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ecuador, South Africa, USA, Jamaica, Guyana, and Mexico, Brazil. Ecuador, Peru, Malawi, Gambia, Burundi, etc.
Why Start Samaritan’s Feet
Where Do Funds Go
How Can I Help