The Christmas Shoes Project started during the winter season of 2018 to help children coming from poor and underprivileged families. From the moment it was launched on Radio 7 network and TV 7, the response was overwhelming. Our audience on Radio and TV was eager to become part of the campaign and help in many different ways, financially, volunteering in the collection of the shoes and distribution. This campaign was brought to the attention of secular national Albanian media stations that featured interviews with our staff members. The result of us coming together as a community were thousands of happy children surprised with an unexpected gift.

Remembrance of the children’s smiles is still on the hearts and minds of our staff and all the volunteers involved in the Christmas Shoes Project. Some people only donated, some went shopping for new shoes for the children, many packed and distributed shoes, but all experienced indescribable emotions.

In the last four years, at Christmas, our team has visited some of the poorest areas of Albania. We met children wearing slippers and sometimes running around without socks on cold winter days.

One of the families we helped was Mirela, a widow, and she has raised her five children all by herself in challenging conditions. Her children were happy and laughing as they tried their new shoes while their mother couldn’t hold her tears. She shared with us: “I am thankful beyond words. You can imagine how difficult it is for me to meet all the needs of my five children. This is not just a gift; it is a huge help to our family, and it means so much to us.”

A year later, we visited the family of Dallendyshe, whose house was one of the thousands destroyed by the earthquake that hit Albania on November 26, 2019. Her children take care of a lamb, and their shoes were not suitable for the problematic territories they walk each day. Pauline & Eduard received their new shoes as a gift for Christmas, and not just their feet, but their hearts were warmed as well.

Joel, an eight-year-old boy, was encouraged by his mother Alma, a regular listener of Radio 7, to give a new pair of shoes for a child in need as an offering for Christmas. He decided to write a card sharing the real meaning of Christmas and the true gift we have received, Jesus. We shared Joel’s gift with a child in need in the pediatric hospital. He was hospitalized in the terminal illness department. Olsi expressed the desire that all he wanted for Christmas was a new pair of shoes. We picked the gift of Joel, knowing that for Olsi, the message inside the shoebox was more critical. Olsi received the gift from his wish list for Christmas, and though he was very sick, he stood up from his bed to put on his new shoes. That gift brought so much joy to his eyes.  Olsi read the card out loud to his grandparents and accepted Jesus as his savior.

Now that’s what the Christmas shoes project it’s all about. We don’t want only to meet a need, but we want to share Jesus as the best gift someone can ever receive.

Since we have testified so many beautiful stories happening through our Christmas shoe campaign, we continue to ask our listeners and all our supporters to join us in this wonderful mission of giving shoes to children in need.

While we give new shoes, we pray for a new generation in Albania that will grow up from the dust to move forward with dignity in their lives.