DALLAS – Buckner International is sending more than 6,700 pairs of shoes to aid refugees in Kurdistan who have fled from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, better known as ISIS.
The Buckner shoes are part of a Dallas-area effort spearheaded by Brookhaven Church in McKinney to provide relief to those in a refugee camp in Kurdistan. The shipment also includes water filters, clothes and humanitarian supplies.
The humanitarian aid, including the Buckner footwear, have been taken to Texas Baptist Men, who will pack them in a container and ship them to Iraq. Texas Baptist Men expects the shipment to arrive June 1.
The items will be distributed to families who fled the ravages of ISIS, which has killed or held many of the refugees’ relatives. Some in the camp managed to escape ISIS captivity and are in need of counseling.
“These people fled with absolutely only the clothes on their backs, so these people have nothing,” said Gary Smith, a Texas Baptist Men volunteer who worships at Brookhaven Church. “They really do not have things unless people donate to them, so we’re showing the love of Christ by providing things to people on the other side of the world who have nothing.”
The shoes have been donated through Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls®, the largest humanitarian aid project of Buckner. In the past 16 years, more than 3 million shoes have been collected through shoe drives across the country and delivered to vulnerable children and families in 80 countries.
Ashley Williamson, director of Shoes for Orphan Souls, prays the shoes and other supplies meet crucial needs and provide a bit of hope for those have been so tragically effected by ISIS’ terror across Syria and Iraq.
Recently, the extreme Islamic rebel group has been responsible for a series of brutal killings in the Middle East as well as targeted attacks on Christians in the region.
“Thousands of Yazidi families have had to flee their homes in Iraq because of religious persecution in recent months, and hundreds of children have lost parents because of the violence,” Williamson said. “This situation has been heavy on the hearts of our Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls team this year, and we have been praying about how we can help.”
Williamson is thankful for the work of non-profit groups meeting refugee needs in Iraq as well as Dallas-area partners such as Texas Baptist Men and Brookhaven Church who have come together to help in times of extreme need.
“At times of extreme need, it takes all of us working together to make a difference,” she said. “Each of us has a role to play in shining hope into the lives of those who have little. Today, Buckner, Texas Baptist Men and Brookhaven Church have come together to do just that in hopes of caring for refugees who are at a crucial point in their lives.”