The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) organized a Barefoot Walk around campus on Tuesday, Feb. 21. The purpose was as a fund-raiser for Samaritan's Feet and an awareness project for the student-athletes to get involved and to help others. GSU's student-athletes already combine for more than 5,000 hours of community service each school year.

This year, the 32-member SAAC committee that represents all of GSU's sports chose to work with basketball coach Ron Hunter's program, since Hunter coaches one game barefoot every year for the Samaritan's Feet.

The walk left the GSU Sports Arena on Decatur Street and chose a path that took them past Hurt Park and Woodruff Park around the GSU downtown campus and looped back to the Sports Arena. The group made the walk on the lunch break.

The Barefoot Walk by SAAC raised more than $1,000 from GSU student-athletes and other GSU students and even landed an anonymous donor who would add a gift that was more than that $1,000 total.

Coach Ron Hunter explained the Samaritan's Feet program. "The goal of Samaritan's Feet and its team of global ambassadors is to touch the lives of men, women, and children across the United States and around the world in an effort help the nearly 300 million who go without shoes each day, and the more than a million who die each year as a result. Through this simple act humility and servant-leadership, we are the expressing love, compassion and a message that brings hope. When we give hope, especially to young children, it can change their lives forever and move them in a direction that they might have never thought possible. Our ultimate goal is to provide 10 million shoes to 10 million children in the next 10 years."

"I could win every game we play, every conference championship and every national championship and it will never equal the look on a child's face when we wash their feet, give them a pair of socks and put a pair of shoes on their feet. That lesson has humbled me more than I could ever explain. Bringing joy and hope to a child is a feeling that I wish everyone could experience at least one time. We are so blessed to have what we have in this country and to give back like Samaritan's Feet does is just a small part of what we can do.

"I wish everyone could see and be humbled by the experiences we go through when we put shoes on a child for the first time. We are fortunate that we can pick either Nike's or Adidas' sneakers or some $100 pairs of shoes. The average person in the U.S. has 15-17 pair of shoes. When we go to places like Africa or Lima, Peru, the children are so thankful for any pair of shoes. They don't look at what the shoe says, but are just so happy to have shoes on their feet. I think it can make people really think about the materialistic things in their life and appreciate everything that we are fortunate enough to have in this country."

Walk on.

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