This summer, LowCountry Community Church (LCC) teamed up with 14 Bluffton area businesses to collect and distribute more than 1,000 new pairs of sneakers during the One Step Back-to-School Shoe Drive.
Area businesses and organizations, including Bluffton Self Help, The Corner Perk, Bluffton Ronald McDonald House, Coastal Shores Landscape and Property Maintenance, Wells Fargo, Powerhouse Gym, CrossFit 843, Salon 1050 East, Straight Edge Barbershop, Infinity Gym, Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, Bluffton Public Library and the Bluffton Police Department, came together to help gather and distribute the shoes.
"This year we were overwhelmed with the support we had in collecting shoes," said LCC Missions and Outreach director Benedette McGuire. "This is the fourth year we have done the One Step Shoe Drive. The most we have ever collected was close to 500 pairs of shoes, and this year there are more than 1,000 new pairs of shoes to put on kids' feet. We are so grateful for all of the help!"
The shoes were collected and distributed to families at Bluffton Self Help during the first two weeks of August.
"One Step started as just an LCC thing," McGuire said. "Over the years, it has expanded to become a 'Back-to-School Bash.'"
In addition to the shoe giveaway, the event included representatives from the Bluffton Public Library, who came out to help promote reading with the children. The Bluffton Police helped parents with car seat checks and passed out coloring books. Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services was there promoting dental hygiene. Straight Edge barbershop and Salon 1050 East gave free haircuts. The Corner Perk gave out cookies and coffee. The church also provided hotdogs and snacks along with the shoes. There was no charge for any of the participants.
McGuire said she was amazed by the amount of participation from the community. She said that any shoes left over will remain at Bluffton Self Help to be distributed to families throughout the year.
"A pair of shoes may seem like a simple thing," McGuire said. "But it means a lot to a kid. It helps build their confidence and makes them feel good. We are so grateful to everyone who donated and every organization that made this such a success!"
LowCountry Community Church is a nondenominational church in Bluffton, founded in 1994. Regular services are held Sundays at 8:30, 10 and 11:30 a.m. For more information call 843-836-1101 or visit lowcountrycc.org.