DALLAS–More than 14,000 pairs of new shoes and 6,400 pairs of socks are headed to the largest refugee camp in Afghanistan through a partnership between Buckner Orphan Care International and Feed the Children.

The humanitarian aid shipment, collected through the Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls project, was loaded into a shipping container Feb. 18 headed for Herat, Afghanistan.

Amy Norton, director of program development for Buckner Orphan Care International, said Buckner and Feed the Children chose Herat as the shipment’s destination because it is home to the largest refugee camp in Afghanistan, with about 30,000 people living there.

The children of Afghanistan have suffered greatly from the country’s ongoing political upheaval and fighting, Norton said, noting that one in four Afghan children dies before the age of 5, more than 1 million are orphans, more than 9 million cannot read and more than a million suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome.

The staff of Feed the Children, a humanitarian aid organization based in Oklahoma City, will distribute the shoes.

The Afghanistan shipment by Buckner marks the 21st country served through the annual Shoes for Orphan Souls project, which is distributing more than 500,000 shoes collected in the United States in 2001. Buckner also has sent shoes to Belize, Belarus, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Cuba, Ethiopia, Georgia, Haiti, India, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Latvia, Mexico, Peru, Romania, Russia, the United States and Ukraine. Most of the shoes are destined for overseas orphanages.

Buckner Orphan Care International is a ministry of Buckner Benevolences, a ministry affiliated with and receives funding from the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

Reprinted with permission from the Baptist Standard.

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