Our Story

Why Shoes?

Over 30 years ago, a young Nigerian boy, Manny Ohonme, received his first pair of shoes at the age of nine. It changed his life and now he wants give others that same opportunity for change and impact. Samaritan’s Feet wants to inspire hope through the gift of shoes, the act of washing feet, and encouragement to those who need it most. People without shoes face dangers like laceration, fungus, and insect bites that can lead to infection, disease, and even death. Children with no shoes are often not allowed entrance to education in many countries and can find their way into slavery, or unsafe and inexcusable child labor environments. Since our founding in 2003, Samaritan’s Feet and its partners have distributed over 7 million pairs of shoes in 108 countries and 395 U.S. cities.

1 in 7 people in Canada live in poverty. 1.3 million are children. With the majority being racialized or indigenous peoples in Canada (Canada Without Poverty).

Over 1.5 billion people are infected with diseases that are transmitted through contaminated soil (World Health Organization, 2017).

Shoes and socks are reported to be in the “Top 5 Items Needed” by students in school (Champions for Kids, 2015).

Our Impact

Countries Served

People Served Worldwide

Volunteers In Last 6 Years

U.S. Cities Served

CDN Cities Served

Together

Manny Ohonme

“Our legacy should be created based on what we do for others, not on how much money we make or how many material things we acquire.  We will never know the impact of the ripple effect of our actions and obedience if we sit on the sidelines as spectators.”

Over 30 years ago, on a hot summer afternoon in Lagos, Nigeria, a missionary from Wisconsin approached a young African boy and invited him to enter a contest where the prize was a pair of shoes. For this young boy, like so many others in Africa, the chance to own just one pair of shoes was beyond his wildest dreams that day. That boy’s name was Emmanuel Ohonme.

Emmanuel “Manny” Ohonme won the contest on that hot summer day and earned his first ever pair of shoes. But, even more important than the pair of shoes, were the words of hope shared by this “Good Samaritan”. The missionary gave not only the gift of shoes to the young boy, but the gift of encouragement about believing in your dreams, reaching for the sky, and never giving up.

That gift of hope propelled the young boy to work hard at developing his talents, skills, and confidence. As a young man, he turned those lessons into success, earning a full basketball scholarship to a college in America.Earning his Bachelors and Masters, Manny was climbing the ladder of success in the technology industry when on a trip home to Nigeria, his passion and compassion collided and became a vision of Samaritan’s Feet.

Determined to make a difference, both in his homeland and around the world, Manny and his wife, Tracie began Samaritan’s Feet in 2003. Through Samaritan’s Feet, Manny has the opportunity to continue the legacy of love and hope he received when he was given his first pair of shoes and make a difference in the lives of millions.