INDIANAPOLIS - The Rev. Andrea Leininger, pastor of Old Bethel UMC in Indianapolis, preached barefoot on Sunday, Jan. 27 to promote a challenge and cause to provide shoes for children in African countries. She also encouraged her congregations and other area congregations as well to come to worship without shoes and socks.
She was joined on Jan. 24 by IUPUI Men's Head Basketball Coach Ron Hunter who coached in his bare feet at home against Oakland.
All the bare feet were done to raise awareness for children around the world who don't have shoes. Samaritan's Feet (www.samaritansfeet.org), founded by Emmanuel Ohonme, is a humanitarian relief organization created to provide hope and shoes to impoverished children throughout the world. Ohonme, a native of Nigeria, grew up very poor. He received his first pair of shoes at the age of 9 from a missionary, who also taught him how to play basketball. These shoes helped him get better at sports, specifically basketball. Eventually he earned a scholarship to play basketball at the University of North Dakota.
Pastor Leininger and Coach Hunter's goals are to raise awareness for Samaritan's Feet and 40,000 pairs of shoes in honor of the 40th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s death.
In addition to the IUPUI and Bethel UMC events, Leininger and Hunter held a pizza, concert and shoe donation at the New Augusta Middle School in Indianapolis with a pair of new athletic shoes as the price of admission.
Ohonme spoke at a tip-off luncheon on Thursday at noon at the University Place Conference Center on the campus of IUPUI. He also attended the IUPUI vs. Oakland game. Those attending the game were encouraged to bring a new pair of shoes.