In 2009, our very own Rebecca Huguley, wife of Senior Pastor, Greg Huguley, was inspired by a television host who challenged her viewers to identify a unique and specific need in their own communities – and to do something about it. Her son was preparing to start another year of school and she noticed that his school supply list included a pair of shoes. It then occurred to her that there must be a great deal of families in the community that would have difficult purchasing new shoes for their kids every year – and thus, Step It Up was born.
Step It Up is a ministry of First Baptist Church of Elgin, IL, whose primary goal is to provide brand new shoes for children in our community returning to school. The church works all year long – in collaboration with partners like the Elgin Elks Club #737 and the Elgin Golden K Kiwanis Club – to collect as many pairs of shoes as possible. The shoes are then given out to families on Distribution Day, which is typically scheduled for the first Saturday of August every summer.
Prior to Distribution Day, all of the shoes are prayed over by members of the FBC family – adults and children alike. In addition to providing new shoes to kids, it is the hope and prayer of Step It Up that each family they serve experience and are blessed by the Love of God through the ministry and its many volunteers. Christ calls us to be His hands and feet to the world, and Step It Up seeks to do just that.
Step It Up’s Distribution Day is always an exciting day for FBC, and over the years it has been organized, developed and fine-tuned into an efficient, well-oiled machine. Organized into numbered groups, the families are brought into the church where children are sized for shoes. Once the correct size has been determined for each child, they are brought into the gym which is filled with brand new shoes – organized by size – and the children are given the freedom to select pairs of shoes to try on.
On Saturday, August 4, 2018, Step It Up celebrated its 10th year of distributing shoes – and it was certainly a year to remember. This year Step It Up collected more shoes than ever before, resulting in a total collection of 1,737 pairs of shoes. Not only that, but over 150 volunteers participated in Step It Up this year – from FBC and the community, including officers of our very own City of Elgin Police Department – which is the greatest volunteer force in Step It Up history.
1,100 children received brand new pairs of shoes for school. It’s not uncommon that more shoes are collected than are needed on Distribution Day, but it certainly improves the chances of every child finding the size they need. But rest assured, shoes are never discarded or thrown away. At the end of each Step It Up year, all of the remaining pairs of shoes are kept for the following year’s distribution. Once a pair of shoes is collected by Step It Up, it will not leave the building unless worn by a child.
If you would like to donate shoes, simply ship them or drop them off at First Baptist Church of Elgin (1735 West Highland Avenue, Elgin, IL 60123). All pairs of shoes donated must be brand new tennis shoes, sized from children’s 8 to adult 12, and should appropriate for school. Please no sandals, dress shoes or high-heeled shoes. Keep in mind that these shoes are for children – the more bright and colorful, the better!
If you would like to make a financial contribution to Step It Up, please visit www.fbcelgin.com, click “Give Online” and select “Step It Up” as your designation. If you would like to mail a check, please make it payable to First Baptist Church, Step It Up. All donations are tax-deductible and are used to purchase shoes.