Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Petra and William Dodge, members of the Roanoke church, show their gratitude to those who helped them reach their goal of raising $1,000 to buy and donate shoes for the Roanoke Area Ministries House.

Children’s Shoe Ministry Off and Running

Story by Tiffany Doss

Petra Dodge, a 6-year-old girl from Potomac Conference's Roanoke (Va.) church, felt inspired to help homeless people after fellow church members committed to distribute lunches once a month.

“We noticed that several of the men [who came] to get lunches were wearing worn shoes,” says Jennifer Dodge, Petra’s mother. “Later Petra told me that she wanted to buy shoes for those who needed them. Initially, I put the idea on the back burner, but Petra persistently reminded me that she wanted to do this.”

Within four months, the Dodges officially started Petra and William’s Shoe Ministry—named after Petra and her younger brother, William—and donated nearly 60 pairs of shoes to the Roanoke Area Ministries House after a simple fundraiser. Inspired by what this little girl has accomplished, local businesses, such as Super Shoes, have extended shoe discounts for the project.

Jennifer says she helps steer this ministry, but encourages and allows her children to run it as much as possible. “I want my kids to be mission-minded,” she says. “Petra decides what she wants to handwrite on the cards that go with each pair of shoes and socks. She chose, on her own, to put ‘Jesus loves you’ with a heart and cross. I’m so proud of her thoughtful and simple message and the desire she has, at such a
young age, to help people.”

The Dodge family is in the middle of another fundraiser. To learn more about this ministry, visit Petra’s Shoe Ministry on Facebook, or email

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