Staff Report

Shoes for Tampa Bay originated from the vision of a 6-year-old girl named Emma. At this young age, Emma displayed a compassionate and loving heart for people. For her seventh birthday Emma asked her mom if [instead of getting presents for herself] she could get shoes to give to children in need.

Her aspiration and God’s calling led her to begin collecting new shoes for children who did not have any of their own.

Emma’s excitement became transparent when she and her family collected over 500 pairs of shoes in less than six months. Knowing that they were on to something special, but not knowing how or what to do, Emma and her mom decided to reach out to The Crossing Church for better guidance and direction.

From that connection, Shoes for Tampa Bay was born. To date, over 7,000 pairs of shoes have been collected. These shoes blessed children locally and across the world from Tampa to Kenya.

The Crossing Church under the leadership of Pastor Greg Dumas has paved the way for Shoes for Tampa Bay (S4TB) for the past three years. The Crossing Church has two campuses located in Tampa and Ruskin, and has partnered with local churches, agencies and elementary schools in the Tampa Bay community. This event opens the door for volunteers at the church level, as well as, volunteers from the schools, parents and community leaders.

According to Shane Riley, director of local outreach for The Crossing Church, “The 2016 S4TB event provided shoes to the students of Ruskin, Clair Mel and Potter Elementary. Any shoes that were left over were given to the school to give out as needed. In addition, we also were able to give shoes to Emergency Care Help Organization of Brandon, Metropolitan Ministries and the Guardian ad Litem program of Hillsborough County.”

This event is done annually in preparation for the children going back to school. This is their third year running and the hope is to be giving out shoes for a long time to come. For additional information and to see a short video, visit www.wearecrossing.com/shoes.