BY JENNIFER NESSLAR & ZAK KERR
WEST ORANGE During the month of June, a local community group is hosting a shoe drive to benefit Prince of Peace ministries, a safe place for girls in Guatemala who have been rescued from unsafe situations.
Many of these girls lack adequate shoes, so IronMen of God are collecting shoes at four locations in West Orange to give to the ministry.
“We are asking our residents to bring in their old shoes — men’s, women’s or children’s — that they no longer use,” said Windermere Police Chief Dave Ogden, who is hosting a collection at the Windermere Police Department. “(They) clean out their closets and an organization called Funds2Orgs will provide funds for the Prince of Peace orphanage from those old shoes.”
IronMen of God, a group of Christian men made up of more than 40 area churches, is hosting the drive. Many of them visited Prince of Peace this spring, such as Kenny Ortiz, who led a collection of a thousand pairs of socks, which then sparked the idea to collect these shoes, as well.
“There are 51 girls at Prince of Peace, and many of them do not have a good pair of shoes,” IronMen of God spokesman David Hill said. “We saw their feet; we saw their shoes.”
Among the girls fortunate enough to have any shoes, most had threadbare flip-flops with detached thongs or deteriorating remnants of worn shoes, Ortiz said.
“Funds2Orgs ... collects shoes from all different parts,” he said. “They refurbish those shoes, repurpose them and then send them overseas. But they actually, through the collection process, raise money. So for every pair of shoes that get donated, several bucks can be raised. We’re going to take that money to take those girls … in the orphanage shoe shopping, so they can all get a brand-new pair of shoes.”
Hill was part of a group of businessmen who created a vision for Prince of Peace, which included starting a school. They hope to raise awareness of human trafficking, which affects many of the more than 20 million modern slaves and thousands in the United States.
ABOUT PRINCE OF PEACE
Prince of Peace has been a home for neglected girls for more than 25 years in San Cristobal, Guatemala. The goal of the ministry is “to provide all the tools possible, education, counseling and the opportunity for our girls to get a job when they leave the home.”
Prince of Peace features a full-time education director, a psychologist and a social worker to teach, promote healing and provide a safe, loving environment.
For more information about Prince of Peace, visit princeofpeacegt.com.