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Bluefield College helps provide Christmas shoes for kids

BLUEFIELD, Va. (BP)–More than 700 people filled the Dome Gymnasium on the campus of Bluefield College, Dec. 2, to hear the music of award winning contemporary Christian group NewSong. But, more importantly, more than 700 new pairs of shoes were made available to underprivileged youth in the area, thanks to the charitable music event.

For weeks, officials at Bluefield College, Christian radio station PAR-FM, and the Bluefield Union Mission had been planning and anticipating the NewSong concert. The show was to be the highlight of a venture entitled “Christmas Shoes for Kids,” a community service project designed to provide new shoes for kids for Christmas.

In fact, the idea behind the “Christmas Shoes for Kids” project came from a NewSong holiday release entitled “The Christmas Shoes.” The song tells the story of a young boy whose mother is dying of cancer. He wants to save his money to buy her a new pair of Christmas shoes, so that she will have them when she dies and goes to heaven. The story takes place at a shoe store where the boy not only shares his story with the cashier, but also finds himself short of enough money to buy the shoes.

In keeping with the Christmas shoes theme, admission to the NewSong concert was a new pair of shoes or $10 to purchase new shoes, which all go to the Bluefield Union Mission in Bluefield, West Virginia, to be distributed to underprivileged children in the area. The results from the concert door: nearly 600 new pairs of shoes and more than $1,000 to purchase new shoes for underprivileged kids.

“Part of our ministry at PAR is to meet the needs of the community,” said Leon Spradlin, general manager of PAR-FM, “and during the holiday season agencies seem to be providing the food, the toys and the clothes, but new shoes are often forgotten. We wanted to meet that need and touch the lives of underprivileged youth in our area by giving them a new pair of shoes.”

During the concert, NewSong, the creator of five of the top 100 Christian radio singles of the past decade, sang many of its 16 number one contemporary Christian singles, including “Arise, My Love,” “Miracles” and “Jesus to the World.” The group also sang the theme song “The Christmas Shoes.” In fact, the highlight of the evening was when youth from the local area — including the Kids Choir from First Christian Church, Bluefield, West Virginia, and children of BC employees — joined the members of NewSong on stage for the chorus of “The Christmas Shoes.”

Prior to the concert, during the promotional phase of the event, local businesses, churches, civic groups and individuals stepped forward to pledge their support of “Christmas Shoes for Kids.” The Wisdom Media Group of Bluewell, West Virginia, gave $1,000 on behalf of its employees for the purchase of new shoes. First Century Bank of Bluefield, West Virginia, contributed $500 for new shoes. Other pre-concert contributors, who pledged a total of at least 200 pairs of shoes, included: Bluefield College employees; Kiwanis Club of Bluefield, West Virginia; Bland Street Pre-School; First Christian Church of Bluefield, West Virginia; First Assembly of God of Princeton, West Virginia; Alma Anello of Bramwell, West Virginia; Helen Cornett of Bramwell, West Virginia; Eve Murphy of Bramwell, West Virginia; Evelyn Murphy of Princeton, West Virginia; Mike Romeo of Bluefield, West Virginia; Jane Thomas of Blacksburg, Virginia; and a number of anonymous contributors.

Actual shoes or cash contributions for shoes to date, including the NewSong concert, total more than 1,000 new pairs of shoes. All shoes are going to the Bluefield Union Mission where they will be available for underprivileged children through Christmas. For more information about the “Christmas Shoes for Kids” project or drop-off points for new shows, please call Bluefield College at 540-326-4212, PAR-FM at 800-627-9747 or the Bluefield Union Mission at 304-327-8167.

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