Finding novel ways to reach out to the community is nothing new for pastor Chuck Catalfu of Smartt Assembly of God, whose church outreach center plays host to Tennessee All-Pro Wrestling every Saturday night.
“We want people to know we care about our community and we want to help,” Catalfu said as his church again reached outside the box, this time to help every student at Bobby Ray Elementary.
On Friday, Smartt Assembly partnered with Bobby Ray Elementary and Convoy of Hope to provide each student with a new pair of shoes. The shoes, provided by a shoe company which wishes to remain anonymous, were distributed Friday morning by several members of Smartt Assembly. They were joined by Mayor Jimmy Haley, McMinnville policeman Bobby Anderson, and numerous members of the school staff.
“We are so excited by what they’re doing,” Bobby Ray principal Monti Hillis told the student body, which gathered in the school gym Friday morning. “I could barely sleep last night knowing what was happening today.”
Catalfu said the idea to provide shoes for the entire school came while he was at a ministerial conference. Convoy of Hope, he learned, was working with the unnamed shoe company to provide footwear for students. After a few calls, the plan was set into action.
“We had to measure the feet of every student at Bobby Ray,” Catalfu said, noting with the help of staff, he was able to get the measurements so they could be sent off to the company. “That amounted to 583 pair of feet.”
During the distribution Friday, each child had a bag with their name on it, bearing a pair of shoes in their size. New students or those who had not been measured before, were measured and also given a new pair of shoes so no child was left behind.
“It gives you a good feeling seeing how excited the children get,” Catalfu said as he stood amid the gym of students, all of whom were wearing their new shoes. “It makes it all worth it.”