Not a Shoe Guy like Tom, or Manolo Blahnik, or even Chuck Taylor.
But a Shoe Guy in the sense that he is helping underprivileged kids get shoes. On June 8, Smith and former University of Memphis star running back DeAngelo Williams joined the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club in partnership with Samaritan’s Feet for a day of giving back to the community.
The approximate 500 recipients at this year’s event in Memphis are all associated with Streets Ministries, Memphis Athletic Ministries, and Girls Inc. But Samaritan’s Feet founder Manny Ohonme has a bigger plan in place.
Already reaching 4 million children worldwide, Ohonme plans on increasing his current plan from 40 U.S. cities to 60, and the group visits four to six other countries every year. This year, trips are planned to both Peru and Jerusalem in the coming months. Smith is the NFL ambassador for Samaritan’s Feet.
“There are 300 million kids that wake up every morning without shoes when (walking) is their mode of transportation,” said Ohonme, who received his first pair of shoes in Nigeria when he was 9. Years later, he created Samaritan’s Feet, which provides impoverished children with shoes.
Smith became a member of Samaritan’s Feet when he was looking for a humanitarian event to participate in with his family and met Ohonme at his church in Charlotte. For his trip to Memphis, Smith invited Williams, the former University of Memphis star.
“The most rewarding part of this is seeing the smile on the kids’ faces after you have a conversation with them,” Williams told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “It feels wonderful to have the opportunity to reach into someone’s life and help them with something they might not get at home.”
Streets Ministries of Memphis has participated in Samaritan’s Feet for nine years.
“I love telling the kids that they can do anything they set their minds to,” Smith said, “and it brings a smile to their face; that’s when you know you’re doing something right.”
- For more information on Samaritan’s Feet, please visit http://www.samaritansfeet.org/