Zachary "Travis" Waelder II, 4, is running around the Head Start playroom at full speed. His smile is wide and his eyes are beaming with happiness. He jumps over a toy resting on the floor and says, "They make me faster," then looks down at his feet with a smile. Waelder just received his own pair of brand new shoes—a necessity some families can't afford.
The donator of these shoes, Shoes from the Heart, is a ministry that was started in Macon in early 2012 by Donnie and Cindy Bonuchi.
"We relied on God to make this a success," said Cindy Bonuchi. "We just prayed for shoes and they came."
Since the ministries start, Shoes from the Heart has given out approximately 526 pairs of shoes to children in four counties—Macon, Randolph, Adair and Shelby. But the Bonuchi's don't want to stop there.
"We are planning on moving to other counties," said Donnie. "And we are projected to hand out around 1,500 shoes for this year."
On Friday, April 5, three children at the Macon County Head Start facility received new shoes—Waelder, Lola Connet, 4, and KaiLee Hatter, 5. State Representative Tim Remole and Field Representative for Sam Graves, Aaron Baker, came out to put the new shoes on the children.
"Shoes seem like such a little thing," said Head Start Center Manager Dana Kirks. "But it is such a special thing for the kids."
But it isn't just special for the kids; it is also special for the creators of Shoes from the Heart. "It is just so exciting seeing the reactions of the kids," said Donnie. "For most of them, this is the first time they have received a new pair of shoes. It is kinda like Christmas."