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Church's Shoes and Socks Ministry assures children of at least one good pair

By Brenda Velasco

Alice Hochhalter, who attends Ridgeview Christian Center, has helped thousands of low-income children in Spokane receive new shoes and socks for school since 2001.

Alica Hochhalter
Alica Hochhalter

“I go to the local school and ask teachers if any of their students need shoes.” Alice said. “My goal is for children whose families are going through a tough time to have at least one good pair of shoes.”

The Shoes and Socks ministry began after the church’s former pastor urged members to use their gifts to help the community. 

“We all have gifts,” she remembers him saying.  “We need to pray to ask how God wants to use us.”

Alice, who struggled financially when she was younger, felt a call to help the children of the community.

“My mother had five children and we went through tough times.  I remember she would cut cardboard to put in the soles of our worn-out shoes,” Alice said.  “She said we didn’t need to ‘keep up with the Joneses,’ but needed to live on the income we had.”

“I prayed about providing shoes and socks for children and thought it sounded like a good idea,” Alice said.  “So I went to talk to the pastor.  He told me to go for it.”

The ministry, which is run through Ridgeview Christian Center at 561 N. Ash, receives money from the community and church donations.

With the economic downturn, money for this ministry has been slower in coming.  Alice said she needs more support to keep the Shoe and Sock Ministry going.

“It’s important for children to have new shoes,” she said.  “Many of the families we serve are headed by single mothers who are trying to make ends meet.  Even if the community can give a small amount that will help a lot.”

She puts in about $10 to $20 dollars a month from her own pocket.

Alice, who attended Glad Tidings Assembly of God and St. Paul Lutheran before becoming involved at the 200-member Ridgeview Christian Center 15 years ago, said that they need at least $30 for every child they serve.  The ministry works with Payless Shoes, purchasing $30 gift certificates, which she gives to each family for each child.

“We used to buy the shoes for them, but it is nicer for them to buy their own shoes,” she said. “It is rewarding to see the smiles on the children’s faces when we give them the certificate.”

Within the last four months the Shoe and Socks Ministry has served only 15 children.

Currently they have about $500 in their fund, which is down significantly from $1,500 in previous years.

 “Our church has several ministries that grew out of that sermon.  It’s not what we do for ourselves but what we do for God that matters,” Alice said.

The church also serves a weekly meal for the community, serves root beer floats to students at Ridgeview Elementary School a block away at 5610 N. Maple, and has an annual Fall Festival for the neighborhood.

For information, call 326-2913 or email office@ridgeview.cc.