In the News: AU Students Wash Feet, Distribute Shoes For MLK Challenge

Augustana students washed feet and provided shoes for the 2017 MLK Challenge.

At its core, Augustana's Martin Luther King Challenge is a day of service. But according to AU organizers, it's also much more.

The event, held on Saturday, Jan. 14, grouped volunteers randomly, so students would have a chance to meet new people. Students were challenged to complete the service "not just as a task," organizers said, but to view it as a challenge to be solved. 

This year the challenge was to provide foot care and shoes to people in need.

Learn more in this KELO-TV news story:

Augustana Students Wash Feet And Hand Out Shoes For MLK Challenge

By Kelli Volk, KELO-TV

More people in KELOLAND are walking around with new shoes on their feet thanks to college students in Sioux Falls. For the third year, Augustana students took part in the MLK Challenge to serve the community.

People of all ages arrived at the Banquet in Sioux Falls Saturday afternoon, and some of them left with something new.

Augustana University partnered with Samaritan's Feet International for the school's MLK Challenge. With water-filled tubs, and a tables full of footwear, these students went to work washing feet and making sure each person walked away with the right pair of shoes.

"We'll just pick out what we can and hopefully give them a couple options. That way they can pick the ones they really like." senior Damian Dagel said.

Denise Blomberg with Samaritan's Feet International says the need exists all over the world, including right here in KELOLAND.

"We see people walking in Africa or other countries with no shoes on and we instantly think that's not a problem here in the Midwest and specifically Sioux Falls or South Dakota. What we do see here are what we call first world problems. We see children walking around in shoes that are way too small or way too big," Denise Blomberg said.

Only, it you ask some of the volunteers today, this project brings more to the table than just shoes.

"Just giving love to one another. I'm a college student so I can't afford to give them money or help them with other financial ways, but just by being here and giving them love and showing them I'm here and I can help them through it ... it's really great and it feels really special," Abel Negash said.

Blomberg estimates nearly 200 pairs of shoes were handed out today.