Donations with heart and sole

‘Kick’n It for a Cause’ partners with Steph Curry to deliver shoes to the DRC

WRAPPING IT UP — At Campus Community March 1, thousands of students packaged more 20,000 donated pairs of tennis shoes that will be sent to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo Credit: Michela Diddle

WRAPPING IT UP — At Campus Community March 1, thousands of students packaged more 20,000 donated pairs of tennis shoes that will be sent to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Photo Credit: Michela Diddle

Millions of people across the world are forced to endure the strenuous complications of foot infections and diseases, simply because they don’t have shoes to protect their feet from parasites.

Thanks to the collaborative efforts of current Liberty Flame Emmanuel Ntibonera and Liberty alumnus Chris Strachan, more than 20,000 shoes will be delivered to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) this summer.

On March 1, 2017, Liberty University hosted an event titled “Kick’n It for a Cause,” where the Ntibonera Foundation teamed up with Strachan’s Kick’n It brand, along with back-to-back NBA MVP Stephen Curry, for one big Humanitarian effort.

Students, faculty and sponsors donated new and lightly worn shoes that will be packaged and delivered to those in need in the DRC.

The mission began late in 2014 with Ntibonera’s convictions leading him and his family to collect shoes through their family gospel music group and send them to underprivileged families.

Ntibonera felt such a strong obligation to help because he and his family was once in the same position.

Ntibonera and his family were born in the DRC but fled to Kenya due to the threat of war in 2000.

CHARITY — Students donated $10,000 to the Kick’n It foundation at Campus Community March 1. Photo Credit: Michela Diddle

CHARITY — Students donated $10,000 to the Kick’n It foundation at Campus Community March 1.
Photo Credit: Michela Diddle

They lived there for nine years before they were given a chance to relocate to the U.S. by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2009.

“Growing up as a refugee we have gone through a lot,” Baraka Ntibonera said in an interview with myfox8.

“We just didn’t want to stay here in America living happily, we wanted to go back and at least do something for our community.”

The Ntibonera family hosted concerts for their family gospel band and charged a pair of shoes as an entrance fee.

Through that ministry, the Ntibonera foundation collected more than 10,000 shoes, but had trouble finding the means to get them all transported and delivered to the DRC.

Fast forward to Nov. 18, 2016, when TV chef and author Ayesha Curry came to Liberty’s Convocation.

The Curry family invited Strachan to attend the convocation at his Alma mater. Strachan had known the Curry family since 2008.

Basketball Head Coach Ritchie McKay had given Strachan, who was a manager on the basketball team, the task of reaching out to Steph Curry’s younger brother Seth, in hopes of recruiting him to the Liberty basketball team.

“(Me and Seth) got attached at the hip just through texting every single day,” Strachan said in Convocation.

DISCUSSION — Emmanuel Ntibonera (right) shared his story and spoke about how Kick’n It was formed. Photo Credit: Michela Diddle

DISCUSSION — Emmanuel Ntibonera (right) shared his story and spoke about how Kick’n It was formed.
Photo Credit: Michela Diddle

“Through that, it became a really amazing brotherhood. … I ended up getting really cool with (the Curry family) because during the basketball season you (only) get a (few) days off during the holidays. (Sonya) Curry reached out to me and said ‘I know New York is really far away, so spend the holidays with us.’ I think I spent every holiday with them that year. And me and Steph got really cool.”

After the Convocation Nov. 18, Ayesha and the rest of the guests were having lunch with Senior Vice President of Spiritual Development David Nasser, when the Kick’n It for a Cause vision first came to be.

“David (Nasser) is sitting across from me and he’s looking at my Kick’n It hat and he says ‘What’s your thing? What do you do?’” Strachan said.

“I do this thing with sneakers and (Nasser said) ‘Sneakers? This kid, Emmanuel, is raising sneakers for the Congo. He’s raised 10,000 pairs over two years now. He has this crate that he’s going to send home in the summertime. What if we made a convocation event and we made it a Kick’n It convocation, and you help us build this thing up?’”

David Nasser connected the two Liberty affiliates and began planning and creating the
humanitarian event.

“(Nasser) set it all up,” Strachan said.

“Me and Emmanuel started talking (over the next couple) months. We started texting back and forth, calling each other. Not only just talking about Kick’n It, but checking up on each other. He’s an amazing dude with an amazing story. I love everything about him and what he’s got going on. I just jumped on his wave. I had the connections to (help the event) blow up.”

Once Strachan was on board with Emmanuel’s mission he reached out to Steph Curry, who is on the board for the Kick’n It Foundation, and helped recruit him to the cause.

When Steph Curry was able to confirm his involvement with the humanitarian effort, it was announced in convocation on Wednesday Jan. 25 that Curry would be joining Liberty for the Kick’n It Convocation.

After months of phone calls, prayer, networking and fundraising, the event finally came to fruition at Convocation March 1. Students emptied their closets of their spare shoes for the cause and brought them to the Vines Center and dropped them off in red bins to be packaged up later.

The cause also received donations from Nike, Under Armour and the Curry family.

At Campus Community on March 1, Liberty students also helped raise $10,000 for the cause as the Ntibonera family led the Vines Center in worship.

The money raised will help transport the shoes and help the Ntibonera family go to the DRC to deliver the shoes.

Emmanuel Ntibonera left Liberty students with a challenge after sharing his testimony and how the Kick’n It for a Cause event came to be.

“The same God that I was praying to when I was a refugee — it is the same God in this building tonight,” Ntibonera said.

“So, it is a challenge to us to step up, get out of your comfort zone, do something that you have never done before, and seek his face. We serve the most powerful God ever. It is a challenge to all of us.”

Davis is the assistant sports editor.

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