By Jeff Odom
While most children were busy soaking up the last few weeks of summer vacation, 6-year-old twin sisters Kendall and Rebecca Compton were taking in the joy of giving back to those in need.
With the help of their mother, Katie, the girls purchased 23 pairs of shoes from the Rack Room store at University Mall to donate to the Everyday Blessings Children’s Home in Thonotosassa. They brought children to the mall Aug. 4 to pick out their kicks that suited them best.
“We knew we were going to work with Everyday Blessings because our church had worked with them in the past, so we contacted them and asked the best way to support them,” said Katie, of Wesley Chapel. “We were originally just going to have people donate shoes, but (the home) said they couldn’t determine sizes and types the kids might need, so we went with this.”
Rack Room staffers grouped the shoes by price in order to avoid any confusion. The store also gave the Comptons some help with a buy one, get one half off deal and opened an hour early to accommodate the children.
Katie said both Rebecca and Katie enjoyed helping the children, and in return were given plenty of praise from their new friends.
“They took very good care of us (at Rack Room),” Katie said. “The kids were all smiles and very thrilled and super, super appreciative, and it was a lot of fun for everyone.”
In the future, the Comptons plan to continue working with the children’s home, which provides housing to foster children ages 17 and younger who have been removed from their previous residences due to neglect, abuse or abandonment. Katie has a few ideas in mind on what they will do, but said she is still in the planning stages.
“We asked (Everyday Blessings) if they would like to do this kind of thing again, and they said yes, something like suitcases filled with items for the kids, so that would be something fun for a project next year to gather suitcases and then fill them with items that are personal,” Katie said. “They also invited us out to come visit the kids, and I’ve got a lot of ideas on what the kids there might need.”
She added she is planning to work with the home and her church, Water’s Edge Church in Wesley Chapel, one day soon on renovating a room to make it friendlier for the children during their stay at Everyday Blessings.
“We want to come in and take measurements for a new floor, some new paint on the walls, new curtains, new beds, new everything,” Katie said. She added, “(The children) need some warmth and we want to make it a little more home like. We just got the information, but I talked to the women’s ministry there, and they’re all excited about doing it.”
For more information on the Everyday Blessings, including upcoming events to help support the children, visit www.EverydayBlessingsinc.org.