MARSHALL - Every year, Marshall Area Christian School students spread a positive message to those who attend their annual Christmas musical, but this year, their mission is expected to reach much further than their own community.
As a kickoff to their outreach mission, which is to collect shoes for people who need them as part of the soles4souls project, the students will be performing "The Christmas Shoe Tree" on Monday and Tuesday at the school.
"We chose the musical to engage the students and community in collecting shoes and joining the outreach project," said Laura Hibma, who is one the co-directors.
Photo by Karin Elton
Marshall Area Christian School students worked hard Friday in preparation for their upcoming presentations of “The Christmas Shoe Tree.”
Shoes can be dropped off at the Marshall Area Christian School any time between Monday and Jan. 10.
Hibma said that all shoes will be accepted for donation. For more information, go to: soles4souls.org.
Approximately 100 children, in grades kindergarten through eighth-grade, will take part in the musical, which features three fictional children in the Loggins family. William Methany will portray Yule, while Josh Gross is cast as Todd and Claire Boersma as Carol.
"Most of the character names are a play on words," Hibma said. "Like Yule, Todd, Carol."
Amy Harrison is also playing Principal Poinsettia, while Jasmine McDonald will portray Silvia Bells and a news anchor.
"All the eighth-graders have main speaking parts," Hibma said. "The story is about a class field trip, where the students visit a tree farm."
Through Scripture, songs and a heart-warming story, the students will share their message of God's love in action, as they collect shoes to give to people in need all over the world, in the musical and in reality.
"The musical goes along with our ministry that were doing for Christmas," Hibma said. "It's about kids donating shoes and helping others. We'll do stuff locally and overseas, too."
While Hibma and Cindy Prins are in charge of the choreography, cast director Angie Kesteloot works with students on their acting. Nancy Long is the musical director, working with the students on songs like: "I'll Have a Bluegrass Christmas Without Shoes," "Can't Stop These Shoes," "Christmas wRappin" and "Walk of Love."
"They're catchy little tunes," Hibma said.
MACS will give three Christmas musical presentations, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Monday, followed by 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. performances on Tuesday. The public is welcome at all three of the performance times.
The school will continue serving as a drop-off point for donated footwear from through Jan. 10. Four of the eighth-grade students, Theresa Hanson, along with Harrison, Boersma and McDonald, are heading up the outreach by organizing the shoe collecting and getting information out to schools and churches, Hibma said.
"They'll be doing the collecting and organizing," Hibma said. "They'll also be introducing it to the other grades to get them involved."
Soles4Souls was originally founded in 2004 as a project to raise shoes for the Asian tsunami disaster and then for the Hurricane Katrina victims in 2005. To date, the organization has distributed more than 19 million pairs of shoes to people in need in 127 countries.
According to statistics, 1 billion of the 2.2 billion children in the world live in poverty. An estimated 300 million of these children do not have adequate shoes. The EPA also reports that Americans threw away approximately 790,000 tons of footwear and apparel in 2010 alone.