By Jessica Babb Lariat Broadcast Editor
Baylor Air Force ROTC will be hosting a shoe drive on campus February 8-13 to benefit the Salvation Army and Mission Waco.
The idea for the shoe drive came from Arlington senior and AFROTC cadet Austin Hyde, who was inspired by his grandmother’s abundant giving.
“She would pull out all the stops for Christmas, for gifts and giving, and was so festive,” Hyde said. “I saw that abundance and took it to heart and thought what if I can give like I have, even though I might not have an abundance, I want to give like I have a lot.”
The idea resonated with Tucson, Ariz., junior and AFROTC cadet Austin MacDonald, who also had a passion for selfless service after going on a mission trip where he gave out shoes to adults and children in need living in the Dominican Republic.
“Shoes are a huge deal to kids and people whenever you hand (them) out, it just makes a difference,” MacDonald said.
When Hyde first mentioned the idea of the shoe drive to MacDonald, he immediately thought back to his life-changing summer when he had the chance to help others.“Some of them cry, they thank you a lot, you can just see it in their face,” MacDonald said. “Shoes to them are just something they haven’t had before and you can tell they are grateful.”
With most college students owning more than one pair of shoes each, the luxury of having a soft foundation to walk on can often be overlooked.
“With clothing, you can be wearing a shirt that’s perhaps a size too small or a size too big,” Hyde said. “With shoes, it is far more precise. You can’t really wear shoes that are too small or too large because it would be painful or you might be tripping over yourself.”
With the core values of Baylor AFROTC being integrity first, service before self and excellence in all they do, the shoe drive attempts to exemplify the servanthood the program represents.
“I think that just because we go to Baylor we are all blessed in some form and those who are blessed should bless others,” MacDonald said. “This is just a small way to do that.”
Both MacDonald and Hyde are eager and excited for the opportunity to give back to the Waco community.
“There is no number,” MacDonald said. “One pair of shoes, two pairs of shoes, 300 pairs of shoes. Big or small, it is good to us.”
Locations for the shoe drive are still tentative, but drop-off locations for donations are expected to be in major locations around campus, such as the dining halls and the Bill Daniel Student Center.
“Waco outside of Baylor is a rough area, that’s just how it is,” Hyde said.“There are so many people out there who need footwear, who need help, who need love, who need to realize there are people who care about them. This is an opportunity to touch their lives with a generous gift.”