Wawaka woman serves nonprofit children's ministry

Kristina Petersen of Wawaka helps kids get fitted for shoes.

CEDARVILLE, Ohio — For the second consecutive year, Cedarville University nursing students will partner with Shoes 4 the Shoeless, a nonprofit ministry that distributes new shoes and socks to children, to assist impoverished youth in the Miami Valley. Kristina Petersen of Wawaka will be one of the students serving from Cedarville.

According to Shoes 4 the Shoeless website, 40.9% of children in Montgomery County live in poverty and do not own proper shoes. Shoes 4 the Shoeless seeks to ensure that no child endures physical or emotional distress that transpires from wearing inadequate socks and shoes.

The Cedarville School of Nursing will volunteer at four area schools — Snowhill Elementary on Nov. 22, Warder Park-Wayne Elementary on Dec. 13, School of Innovation on Dec. 17 and Horace Mann Elementary on Dec. 20. The nursing students will measure the children’s feet for the proper shoe size.

“This ministry is so important because we get to fulfill a physical need in a child’s life as well as an emotional and spiritual need,” said Kristina Petersen, a Cedarville nursing student.

This campaign is aimed not only at providing an impoverished child with new shoes but also making sure the child feels loved and cherished, Petersen said. Many of the children come in with “talking shoes,” which means the sole is disconnected from the upper, mimicking the appearance of mouth opening. Volunteers must physically get down on their hands and knees to serve these children, making sure each one is the center of their attention while they measure and fit them with shoes.

“I have seen quite a few children who have had the wrong size shoes, and several who come in with winter boots or sandals on and say that they are the only pair of shoes they have,” Petersen said. “It’s heartbreaking to see a child without a necessity that so many of us take for granted.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,380 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 150 areas of study.

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