This week was of marked importance for many Memphians. Passover began for those who are part of our Jewish community, the state’s largest, as did commemoration of the days leading up to Easter observance, beginning with Maundy Thursday (or Holy Thursday as it is sometimes called). On Tuesday, over 200 children were given new shoes during the annual Samaritan’s Feet International shoe distribution event in a joint effort with cityCURRENT, St. George’s Independent School and Serve901. In addition to the hundreds of pairs of shoes given, volunteers washed the children’s feet: just as was once a custom with the English Monarchy on Maundy Thursday; just as Jesus did with his disciples prior to the Last Supper which is honored on this Holy Thursday. New pairs of socks were also given to the children, a need obvious at this event but one that can sometimes be overlooked in everyday circumstances when considering our city’s most vulnerable. When 11-year-old Memphian Elaina Fik learned that socks were the most requested item at missions and homeless shelters, she ran into action.
Last year, at ten years old, Elaina was inspired to start a local sock drive following the guidelines of Brad Montague’s brainchild Socktober: during the month of October, she collected donated socks from students at her school and from members of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. She created all of the promotional materials and did all necessary footwork to ensure the drive was a success. At the end of it all Elaina walked into Manna House, a “place of hospitality” for those who are homeless and living in poverty, with 1,790 pairs of new socks. A young girl whose rigorous academic responsibilities and extracurricular commitments are more than enough to fill her days carved out the space required on her calendar to be part of Socktober. She poured her heart into doing what it led her to do and along the way blessed those on both the giving and receiving end of it.
Samaritan’s Feet, to date having distributed more than 6.5 million pairs of shoes, began fourteen years ago as one man’s idea fueled by hope. Led by Manny Ohonme and his wife Tracie, it is a world-wide organization that continues to work on what transpired when “his passion and compassion collided and became a vision.” Manny was still a young boy when the seeds for Samaritan’s Feet were planted, showing us that ideas birthed at an early age have a lifetime to grow and blossom into realities that can impact countless others. Elaina, whose own passion and compassion led her to become part of the Socktober movement, is showing us the same thing. Right here in the River City.
‘Wishing all of you a beautiful Easter and Happy Passover!