The power in giving a pair of shoes!

What does it mean to receive a new pair of shoes? For many of us shoes are an abundant resource that is sometimes taken for granted, however, for millions of children and adults across the globe shoes are scarce. In many developing nations walking is the primary mode of transportation, so a pair of shoes keeps people happy, healthy and thriving. This past summer, my husband LA Rams Cornerback Coty Sensabaugh, and I embarked on our first ever #SensabaughMissionMoon, a partnership with the nonprofit organization Soles4Souls which is committed to fighting poverty through the collection and distribution of shoes and clothing.  Instead of taking a traditional honeymoon, we decided to travel with family and friends to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic to serve children and adults in need by giving away new shoes, hence the title #SensabaughMissionMoon.

It took us over a year of diligent planning to make this endeavor successful and leading up to the actual #MissionMoon we partnered with our church Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Nashville, TN  to organize a shoe drive which collected close to 17,000 pairs of gently used shoes.

During our 5 day stint in the DR, our 11 man team consisting of our parents and close friends and family, distributed 542 pairs of shoes to children and adults across 2 schools, 1 church community and a boys & girls club in communities across Puerto Plata.  Our team's love and laughter was infectious and the opportunity and dignity that they gave through a pair of shoes will make waves in those children's lives, knowing some of their conditions - no running water, sold into prostitution at age 12, unable to go to school because they had no shoes.

Giving away shoes and participating in this life-changing event brought my husband and I closer in so many ways. Relive some of our amazing moments during our adventure!

Top 10 moments from our #SensabaughMissionMoon

  1. The children's faces once they received their new shoes. 

Photos by Ben Brinker

2. Watching my husband interact with the children.

Photos by Ben Brinker

3. Washing the children's feet prior to giving them new shoes. 

Photo by Ben Brinker

4. Watching my husband play basketball with the children. 

Photos by Ben Brinker

5. Playing games with the beautiful Dominican Children after our shoe distributions.

Photos by Ben Brinker

6. Watching our family and friends interact with the children

Photos by Ben Brinker

Not only were our parents able to attend this trip, but our close friends and family members, including WAG Maggie Bailey. We have remained friends long after our husbands played together for the Tennessee Titans. Also, my husband's parents and my mother were able to participate on this journey with us. During one of our distributions, we ran out of the larger sizes for the older children. After the distribution was over, my mother pulled aside the child that was unable to receive a pair of shoes because we did not have his size, and gave him the shoes off of her feet.

7. Watching our Mission Trip participants work in sync together during our shoe distributions. 

Photos by Ben Brinker

8. Doing Yoga and Zumba with the Children

Photos by Ben Brinker

We danced and had an amazing time with the children. One of our mission moon participants and longtime friends, Vonnie Leahey, is a phenomenal Zumba instructor and she taught a fun and upbeat Zumba class. This was a magical moment because although none of us spoke the same language, dancing crushed all of our language barriers,

9. Working with a phenomenal Trip Leader

Photos by Ben Brinker

Kristen Schwartz was an outstanding trip leader. She was attentive to every single detail during our stay and she made sure we were comfortable, well fed, and HAPPY during our entire mission trip experience.

10. Riding ATV's throughout the countryside with our Mission Moon participants

"Participating in the #SensabaughMissionMoon with Soles4Souls changed my life. The pure joy that came from a simple act of giving away shoes to those in need was phenomenal. In that act of service, we created an intangible connection with the Dominican children we served. They are forever a part of our family and they have a very special place in our hearts. We are extremely grateful for this opportunity and we look forward to many more #SensabaughMissionMoons to come."

"The #SensabaughMissionMoon showed me that a laugh and a smile is an international language. By giving away shoes, I was able to instill hope. I have loved shoes my entire life, but I had no idea that providing someone in need with a pair of shoes could truly “change” a person's life."

- Coty Sensabaugh

How Can You Help the #SensabaughMissionMoon?

Donate: Seeing first-hand the power of a pair of shoes during our #SensabaughMissionMoon, we are committed to raising $40,000 to support Soles4Souls’ mission.

Help Raise Awareness: Post about Soles4Souls and the #SensabaughMissionMoon on your social media networks. Send emails and snail mail to your contacts encouraging them to support this movement. Finally, keep us in your prayers as we partner with this phenomenal organization to help those in need during #SensabaughMissionMoons to come.

Travel with Us: In July 2017 we will embark on our 2nd Annual #SensabaughMissionMoon to Haiti!

We are changing lives with one pair of shoes at a time!