Independent TribuneFeatures Putting her best foot forward

Putting her best foot forward

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Teens talent for making flip-flops will help serve cause of area nonprofit

By Josh McCann
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Manny Ohonme travels the nation and the world to run Samaritan’s Feet, a nonprofit organization that brings footwear and evangelism to 15 states and more than 40 countries.

Friday morning, he pulled his black SUV into a Concord driveway to accept a donation of about 250 pairs of flip-flops from 14-year-old Rebecca Rowland.

A rising high school freshman, Rowland built her college fund during two summers of her youth by decorating and selling flip-flops.

The leftover flip-flops from that venture, except for a few she had sent with various mission trips, had sat in her family’s garage until Friday.

Rowland decided to donate the remainder to Samaritan’s Feet after connecting with Ohonme, the charity’s president and founder, through a mutual friend.

Her flip-flops are now likely bound for Haiti, regarded as the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.

“I think they’re better off going to people who really need them,” Rowland said.

Ohonme didn’t want to accept Rowland’s inventory without meeting the donor.

Ohonme, who grew up in Africa and earned a scholarship to play college basketball after a missionary fitted him with shoes as a child, said Rowland’s gift will help his organization achieve its aim of equipping 10 million children in 10 years.

He said he wanted to congratulate Rowland in-person for helping some of the estimated 300 million children around the world who don’t have shoes.

“Thank you, and thank you on behalf of children around the world,” he said. “I am so grateful for her compassionate act of generosity.”

• Contact Josh McCann: 704-789-9152.


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