MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Four thousand pairs of shoes are heading to kids in The Philippines from Middle Tennessee.
Kenneth Hargis, the owner of Nutrishop in Cookeville, Murfreesboro and Hendersonville, plans to send his 10,000th pair of shoes to The Philippines this spring.
"In the U.S., everyone wakes up in the morning thinking what am I going to eat today?" Hargis said. "In The Philippines, the children wake up wondering do I get to eat today? Parents have to make a decision do I buy the kids a pair of shoes to go to school or do I feed them? Well, we remove the burden of the shoes."
Using revenues from his stores, Hargis donated his first 1,000 pairs after his first trip to The Philippines in 2015.
The Philippines is where his wife grew up.
"The walkway, it's so hot," Millet Hargis said as she recalled her walks to school as a kid. "When I was growing up, I used to go to school with a pair of flip-flops or sandals because my parents couldn't afford to buy a pair of shoes. If [they] bought [a pair] it was only going to be one and my sister and I [had to] share, alternate actually."
Kenneth Hargis did not know how great the need was until his first visit to his wife's home-country.
"The kids were running around with no shoes on. I just walked into one of the schools, talked to the principal and said 'I'll give every kid a brand new pair of shoes and a brand new BIble if you let me start a Bible study here and he said come on it.'"
He said his personal connection to The Philippines has changed his outlook on life.
"It's wonderful to see the smiles on their faces and when you're affecting thousands of them at a time that's even better."
Hargis donated his first 6,000 pairs privately, but is now encouraging the community to help the cause. You can donate by clicking here.