Minium: ODU basketball coaches will not wear shoes when Monarchs host UTSA on Thursday


Through Harry mini

NORFOLK, Virginia – COVID has changed so much in our lives, and it extends to organizations dedicated to helping those less fortunate.

Two years ago, the Old Dominion basketball team teamed up with Samaritan’s Feet on a Saturday morning at Jacox Primary School in Norfolk with the goal of outfitting hundreds of children with new shoes and socks .

For five hours, players, staff, coaches and members of Trinity Church washed and dried the feet of 500 needy children, then placed a new pair of socks and shoes on each child.

I will never forget the smiles on the faces of these kids as they stepped out in new shoes after spending a few minutes with college basketball players.

The pandemic has ruled out such a face-to-face event since, but that doesn’t mean ODU basketball still isn’t helping. When the Monarchs take on UTSA at Chartway Arena Thursday night, ODU coaches will be all barefoot, a symbolic gesture to raise awareness of the good work being done by Samaritan’s Feet.

But it will be more than a symbolic evening. ODU trainer Jeff jones urges fans to donate to the cause and put their shoulder to the wheel by getting things started with a donation of $ 5,000.

ODU officials hope fans, donors and local businesses will match the $ 5,000 in individual donations.

Everything is for a good cause. Samaritan Feet will put a “shoe rack” in Jacox, where counselors, nurses and other officials can provide shoes and socks, as well as a note of encouragement, all wrapped in a drawstring bag, for them. children in need.

Click here to donate shoes to Jacox Elementary via Samaritan’s Feet

Samaritan’s Feet started shoe racks in 2021 in response to the pandemic, which ended many face-to-face events.

“Our goal is for this shoe rack to last in Jacox through 2022,” said Will McCorry, Dallas-based sports engagement manager for Samaritan’s Feet.

“The shoes will be available for Jacox staff to provide a new pair for any child who needs shoes. Our goal is to have them available 24/7, for 365 days.”

And that’s where the fans come in. Jones’ donation will allow the shoe rack to allocate 250 shoes, which may or may not be enough for Jacox’s students.

“This will be the first year that we do a more active fundraising effort,” Jones said.

Jones clung to Samaritan’s feet while he was a coach at American University. He was approached by an organization official and it seemed like a good idea.

“The more I got involved, the more I learned about the organization and the important work it does,” he said.

“Whether it’s for poor children in the United States or around the world, the importance of footwear to children’s health and well-being is enormous.

“I have learned to appreciate and respect what the organization does. They are great people and they are pretty much all volunteers and they do so much good. “

Samaritan’s Feet is a Christian organization founded by Emmanuel Ohonme, a Nigerian who got his first pair of shoes at the age of nine when he won a raffle from a Christian organization.

He went on to become a college basketball star and a hit in the high tech world in the United States. But he never forgot that first pair of shoes and formed Samaritan’s Feet, which has since supplied nine million children around the world with new shoes and socks.

His organization partners with churches, businesses and university sports departments around the world. Kentucky coach John Calipari and former LSU coach Dale Brown are among the hundreds of male and female basketball coaches who support Samaritan’s Feet.

As Jones said, most of the work is done by volunteers and this allows over 90 percent of all donations to go directly to distributing shoes to the needy.

Millions of poor children in third world countries do not have shoes and this leads to all kinds of health problems. Few children in America lack shoes, but sometimes they have shoes that are too big or worn shoes.

Will McCorry said shoes do more than just promote good health.


“We know it also helps build self-esteem,” he said. “When you bless them with a need that we take for granted, it is a very special thing.

“We have seen so much gratitude and a feeling of oneness that comes from the gift of a pair of shoes and socks.”

Jones said he’s seen this at every event where his players have presented shoes to children.

“To see the excitement in the little kids, the smiles on their faces, their big eyes, and then you see the gratitude of the parents,” he said.

“The kids are excited and the parents are really grateful because it’s something they maybe can’t afford.”

The Monarchs will play a role in providing footwear for Jacox’s children. They will assemble the shoes and socks into bags and also write encouragement notes that will be delivered with the shoes.

Jones said he hopes sooner rather than later his team can start placing shoes directly on children again.

“The sense of pride that I saw in our young men was fantastic,” he said. “They took the plunge, they seized the opportunity.

“Anytime we’ve been able to give a gift of shoes, that’s everything I hoped it would be. It touches the lives of a lot of people. It makes a difference in their lives, whether it’s a child, a parent or one of our guys volunteering. “

Minium worked at the Virginian-Pilot for 39 years before joining ODU in 2018. He covers all ODU sports teams for Follow him on Twitter @Harry_MiniumODU, Instagram @ hbminium1 or email [email protected]

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