Samaritans Feet give kids and Sacred Hoops a Hand-UP

Some  photos courtesy of Dave Eggen - Inertia

Fifteen-year-old Dell Rapids Youth, Sam Palmer had both his eyes and heart opened when he and dad Lee Palmer spent a day washing feet and handing out new shoes. On Saturday, Aug. 18, Samaritan's Feet was in Sioux Falls handing out 1000 pairs of NEW shoes to a bunch of youth whose smiles just wouldn't stop shining. 

For Sam Palmer, the experience was life-changing!

"I really took for granted having shoes. I never really thought about it before that there are kids out there who this may be the only pair of new shoes they get. Really makes me feel thankful."  ~Sam Palmer

For a Sacred Hoops Organization that is only in its fifth month of existence, the opportunity to work with an organization whose goal is to have "A World of Zero Shoeless Children in the World" enhances the Sacred Hoops Mission of "Teaching the game of basketball, the game of life, and provide multiple opportunities for the youth and those who work with the youth in South Dakota and surrounding states." 

We got to meet some great people

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Samaritan's feet distributes 6.5 million pairs of shoes in 91 countries and 366 U.S. cities

By Rich Winter

For Samaritans Feet Regional Director, Denise Duncan Blomberg, it took all of about 5-minutes after meeting coach Bertram to determine, "This is a man on a Mission." 

She had the same feeling when an email from former South Dakota State (Current Wright State) men's coach Scott Nagy appeared in her inbox. 

The Nagy's, Scott and Jamie, who have traveled to and have a deep love for Haiti, reached out to Samaritan's Feet after a friend of Blomberg's reached out to Nagy. After visiting with Blomberg, the Nagy's decided to host an event that would bring awareness to children and youth that are less fortunate. 

"They wanted to do something to make a difference," Blomberg said. "They brought awareness to South Dakota by doing a barefoot basketball event."  

Why Shoes?

Over 30 years ago, a young Nigerian boy, Manny Ohonme, received his first pair of shoes at the age of nine. It changed his life and now he wants give others that same opportunity for change and impact. Samaritan’s Feet wants to inspire hope through the gift of shoes, the act of washing feet, and encouragement to those who need it most. People without shoes face dangers like laceration, fungus, and insect bites that can lead to infection, disease, and even death. Children with no shoes are often not allowed entrance to education in many countries and can find their way into slavery, or unsafe and inexcusable child labor environments. Since our founding in 2003, Samaritan’s Feet and its partners have distributed over 6.5 million pairs of shoes in 91 countries and 366 U.S. cities.

Blomberg, who travels extensively to communities like Sioux Falls said she's excited to have a connection to the entire state of South Dakota. 

"In our country we think of a need for shoes as something that happens in third-world countries," she said. "I've seen basketball players from reservation schools that wear borrowed shoes or even shoes that have been duct-taped." 

Five minutes after meeting Bertram, Blomberg was sold on Sacred Hoops.

"Just through my work with basketball teams the coach has the power to be a significant role model," she said. "You might as well be in Hayti. You look at what Sacred Hoops is doing and they are teaching far more that sports. They are helping these young people to use their God given talents and do more." 

Blomberg explains more about why shoes are important. 

"All kids want to be like everyone else," she said. "Getting new shoes and clothes can be so important to a young person's confidence." 

As Lee Palmer drove home from the Samaritan's Feet event on Aug. 18, he couldn't help but reflect on the moment. 

Not only did I get to spend time with my son giving back, but was humbly reminded of what I have. Looking at the smiles on these kids faces because they received a new pair of shoes was very rewarding for me. 

Sacred Hoops Coordinator Allan Bertram on his experience with Samartians Feet

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To be able to sit down in front of a young child, literally wash their feet for them, talk to them and listen to them speak about their goals for the school year, then to see their faces light up as you put a brand new pair of shoes on them, unbelievable. Today was a humbling and gratifying experience for me personally. I am proud of all of the Sacred Hoops Athletes, Coaches, and Parents who participated in the event. We ended up helping Samaritans Feet distribute close to 1,000 pair of shoes today to young children who truly need them.

We are blessed to be able to help out in such a great way!!
Thanks to Denise Duncan Blomberg for allowing us to be apart of one of the greatest things I have been a part of!!

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