Shoes Cheerleaders in Rotary District 6040 Rotary Clubs –
A quick note of sincere thanks to each of you.  We have enjoyed another great service project experience together with our 2023 Shoes for Orphan Souls project.
First, please see the attached template press release that we provide each year to you.  I hope it will serve you well as you promote your efforts in your local Rotary Club communities.  Feel free to add more Rotary quotes, and feel free to share more about what your Rotary Club does in your community.
It was a truly fun experience on Saturday evening at the Truman Presidential Library, when we held our first in-person Shoes Roll Call in 4 years.  Those in attendance saw our collective effort yield 10,180 pairs of shoes; 12,019 pairs of socks; 483 pairs of shoelaces, and right at $32,000 in cash donations!!!!!  Simply tremendous, and we are helping so many children who need our help.
The Roll Call followed another tremendously successful Shoes Caravan held from Wednesday through Saturday.  I believe the approach of more routes, with smaller trailers, was a great help to all concerned. 
We enjoyed seeing each of your clubs at the 30 stops of the caravan.   My thanks to District Governor Kent Shelman, John Gill, Cassy Venters, Valerie Anderson, Kenny Harris and Frank Grimshaw for their significant contributions to a successful caravan.  Also, Shawn Spurrier from Buckner in Dallas joined us for nearly the entire caravan and for the District Conference to thank all of you for your partnership.
There was a common refrain that it was just a little harder to find shoes this year, and to find shoes at the same clearance prices as in prior years.  I had experienced this myself as I was shopping.  So extra kudos to all of you for your continuing support of this project.
We have collected over 395,000 pairs of shoes over our 22 years to date.
A special, special thanks to Liberty Rotarian Kimbal Mothershead, and to the Liberty Rotary Club, for supporting the Shoes Caravan as the LIBERTY WAREHOUSING HUB this year.  The Liberty facility was the best arrangement I think we’ve ever had to manage the logistics of shoes transport, storage, and eventual loading to the UPS trailer.
And our colleagues with UPS were as helpful as ever, meeting us at the Liberty HUB on Saturday morning.  Our shoes are currently en route to Dallas where they will be delivered to the Humanitarian Aid Warehouse of Buckner International, for eventual distribution to Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.
Now, we look ahead with equal anticipation to the next year, our 23rd year.  As we mentioned along the caravan route and at the District Conference, in the Rotary year 2023-2024, WE WILL BE DOING THE SHOES PROJECT STATEWIDE THROUGHOUT OUR GREAT STATE OF MISSOURI.  WE WILL BE WELCOMING THE EFFORTS OF THE ROTARY CLUBS IN DISTRICT 6060 AND DISTRICT 6080 AS THOSE TWO DISTRICTS LOOK FORWARD TO PARTICIPATING.  Our thanks to next year’s District 6040 Governor, Randy Steinman, as well as his two Governor classmates, District 6060 Governor Valerie Sorenson, and District 6080 Governor Jimmy Standfast, for embracing the Shoes project as their joint project next year.
I encourage you to reserve the dates of April 19-21, 2024 on your calendar when THE THREE ROTARY DISTRICTS OF MISSOURI WILL HAVE A JOINT DISTRICT CONFERENCE AT THE MARGARITAVILLE RESORT PROPERTY AT THE LAKE OF THE OZARKS, MISSOURI.  Our shoes efforts will culminate at that Joint District Conference next year, and I would like all of our Rotary Clubs in District 6040 to have a representative at the Shoes Roll Call next April.  Let’s make it happen.  I will look forward to seeing you there.
Your Shoes team, and Shoes Caravan team, have a lot of planning to prepare for next year, but I think you can expect a similar Shoes Caravan in District 6040 to assist with the transport of shoes.
In the coming year, I encourage each of your clubs to make the project a year-round project, so that you can hit all the clearance sales!  Besides helping more children by doing so….we also have to beat these other two districts, right?
It is my honor to serve you as our District Shoes Cheerleader, and as I mention each year… long as you are in, I am in.
Finally, a simple note of perspective.  There has been one other time in our 22-year Shoes history when we did this project statewide.  It was in the Rotary Year 2004-2005 when Rotary was celebrating its 100th anniversary as an organization.   A Joint District Conference was held in April 2005 in Columbia, Missouri………and we collected nearly 71,000 pairs of shoes during that conference.
Reflecting on that fact, makes me very excited about the impact this statewide effort will have next year……..certainly for the orphan and vulnerable children we will help……..but also for ourselves as Rotarians displaying Service Above Self.
Let me know how I can help you.
Your proud Shoes Cheerleader,
Larry Lunsford