Shoes, Joy and Baseball Delivered to Orphans
SAN PEDRO DE MACORIS, Dominican Republic—Children living at the Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos Orphanage received new shoes and baseball tips from the Texas Rangers and Buckner International as part of the two organizations' ongoing partnership to impact children.
Rangers Hall of Famer Jim Sundberg, Chief Operating Officer Rick George, and All-Star pitcher Alexi Ogando helped Buckner put new shoes on the feet of more than 230 orphans Nov. 15. The group was joined by players from the Rangers' Dominican Academy, who conducted a baseball clinic for the children.
"Getting new shoes and meeting such tremendous role models on the same day had such a great impact on these children," according to Buckner Vice President Scott Collins. "We're so grateful to the Rangers for their dedication and desire to be such a positive influence in the lives of others."
"It was great to partner with Buckner International to allow these children the opportunity to meet our future players and to be able to provide them shoes that are so needed," George commented. "It is important for our organization to give back to the communities that we are in, and it was an outstanding experience for our players and staff to have this interaction."
During the clinic, Rangers players worked with the children in stations to teach baseball fundamentals. Collins said he was also touched by the sight of Ogando, Sundberg and George "kneeling down on the floor and putting shoes on the feet of the children. I can't begin to tell you what it meant to the children and to me personally to see the humility of these men."
The event was hosted by Buckner International as part of its Shoes for Orphan Souls® program. Each year, Buckner distributes more than 200,000 new shoes worldwide to vulnerable children. Since 1999, Buckner has given away more than 2.2 million pairs of shoes in 74 countries.
Buckner began work in the Dominican Republic in 2009. Along with distributing humanitarian aid to the country, Buckner opened its first Community Transformation Center in the Dominican Republic last year and plans to launch two additional centers in 2012. Buckner Community Transformation Centers provide supplemental education to children in poverty-stricken communities and adult programs like parenting instruction.
Buckner International is a global, faith-based, nonprofit ministry that seeks to make life better for orphans, vulnerable children and families.