Help Ministries making big differences by helping in small ways
FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Sending your child to school without shoes is something unimaginable. But you should know 15 percent of school-aged children in developing countries do that every day, and as a result, have hookworms or other parasitic diseases. One local ministry is trying to change that.
O-M Ships International is a ministry on a ship that travels the world distributing "The Shoe That Grows" to elementary school kids. Their United States office and warehouse is in Florence.
The Shoe That Grows is new to the OM Ships Ministries. The shoe will actually grow with the child for up to five years, and the straps adjust, expanding the shoe 5 sizes.
“They’re the best shoes they ever had, they won’t wear out, and the kids can have something on their feet all the time now,” said Joe Parker, Director of Help Ministries for OM Ships. “Because there are many diseases that come up through the foot and endanger the kids’ lives.”
Parker said they've already given out several hundred to kids in the Philippines, they have 800 currently on their ship for distribution, and they have about 2,000 more to go to Africa. He also said that the shoes are a great ministry tool that they have. They are extremely durable and will last kids around the world years to come.
According to the World Health Organization, water-related diseases cause more than three million deaths per year. OM Ships International's Help Ministry is also distributing water filters in many developing countries. The small filters, weighing less than a pound, connect to buckets.
Parker said the filter will allow users to drink water that is 99.99 percent pure. The filter takes out all bacteria. Although it doesn't take out heavy metals, it is at least as clean as tap water. He actually showed how the filter works by taking some water from a pond behind the building and running it through the filter.
“This little filter cleans 150 gallons of water per day and will last for ten years," said Parker. "No maintenance has to be done, no parts have to be replaced. And the water is perfectly clean when it comes out.”
$100 will help to provide and install a filtration system for a family, school, church or even a whole community.
Access to books in many countries is available, but often very limited. OM Ships International goes into schools around the world and builds libraries; the books to stock them are given to the schools.
If they aren’t putting them in libraries, people can buy them off the ship for about 80 percent cheaper than the retail price. There are a wide variety of books, from cookbooks, university textbooks, children’s book and bibles.
The libraries they build are from books they collect that are donated to them, as well as the books they purchase from publishers. They also have a carpenter on staff to build shelves for the library.
They have many local volunteers as well as national and international volunteers that come to Florence and help sort books. They have more than 2 million books in stock at their Florence warehouse. Help Ministries also gives out school supplies and personal care items. They can also give the kids school bags made from old prison uniforms, and even eye glasses.
For more information on how you can help make a difference, visit their website www.omships.org.