Charities that merit your attention
February 25, 2009
Filed in Bad Christian Doctrine, False Religion on Nov.07, 2008:

"Apparently the shoes featured...from the gospelshoe website are supposed to share the gospel. But they donít use any words to do so, they only use colors. This takes Jesus Junk to a whole new low."

This interesting comment found in a search of the Internet for information about Soles4 Souls seems to confirm our hesitation to promote a shoe drive that recently has been organized in the local area.

Gospelshoe claims to have partnered with Soles4Souls Inc. of Nashville, TN, both purportedly 501 (c)3 organizations with non-profit status with the IRS. While the latter organization legitimately seems to get credit for the distribution of a huge number of shoes worldwide, its partner seems to focus more on sales, albeit sharing some of the profits with church groups that bring in orders.

A "Mile in Their Shoes" drive with a connection to Soles4Souls is underway for the month of March 2009. According to Tammy Virgin of Joplin, while her church, Baptist Church of Oronogo, is "supportive" of the collection, she said it "was not planned or coordinated by the church." She didn't elaborate beyond this, but would have been open for comment if pressed.

While Soles4Souls is an international organization distributing shoes worldwide and is a logo that Virgin has used, she claims that the object of the local drive is to distribute goods to "individuals, organizations and local ministries that have needs."

"They will either come and pick them up or they will be delivered to them," she explained.

When asked if donors would be able to get receipts for their contributions, Virgin said that the Baptist Church of Oronogo would be able to provide receipts for cash only. By the way, Soles4Souls advertises the need for cash in order to help defray the cost of shipping shoes to other countries.

Besides gently worn shoes, Virgin lists a number of other items including: any size clothing in good condition (also new underwear); nonperishable food items; hygiene products; children's books, games and art supplies.

Drop off locations are the Baptist Church of Oronogo, 10040 Country Road 230; Cycle Connection, 5014 Hearnes Blvd., Joplin; and Shoe Carnival (shoes only), 502 S. Range Line Rd., Joplin.

The Joplin Independent's top 3 local agencies to make direct contributions

Crosslines Churches of the Joplin Area, 131 S. High St., Joplin, offers a food pantry, clothing, household items and toys to registered individuals in need. In 2008 they served over 12,000 requests for food and over 23,000 for clothing. Last month they issued a special request for bedding of all sizes, especially larger sized blankets and sheets.

Hours for donations are Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tax-deductible checks may also be sent to Crosslines at P.O. Box 1242, Joplin, MO 64802.

For more information go here.

Lafayette House Thrift Shop, 1705 Main St. (east side of street next to Family Dollar Store), Joplin, is a re-sale shop offering gently used clothing, household items and toys as a fund-raiser for its counseling services for those struggling with domestic violence, substance abuse or rape. At the end of each month prices are reduced for quicker turnover.

Hours of operation and when donations may be made are Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The shop is closed Sundays and Mondays.

For more information go here.

Children's Haven of Southwest Missouri, 701 S. Pitcher (corner of 7th on the south side of the street), Joplin offers a temporary home for children ages birth through 17 whose families are in crisis. Their wish list contains everything needed to run a house as well as gas cards to help transport children to school, over-the-counter medicines and diapers.

Donations are accepted 24/7.

For more information go here.

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