“I want your jeans”, said the man coming towards us as I walked with other youth along Red Square in Moscow to St. Basil’s Cathedral.
It was 1991 and I was shocked by his request for me to sell my jeans from off my body.
We had been warned by the People to People International leaders before the trip that people who worked the Russian Black Market were aggressive in their requests to get American goods because they could be resold for such a high price; still his assertiveness stunned my 16 year old mind.
I kept the jeans I was wearing that day, but exchanged other things with him for a backpack, military jacket, and some hats.
Jeans; discarded because they don’t fit right, are too faded, or torn in the wrong places, can still be very valuable to those who are struggling to meet basic life necessities.
Today I come to you with a request, “I want YOUR jeans.”
This memory of how jeans could be worth so much to some people came to my mind as began collecting jeans and other denim material to make shoes for children in Africa through an organization called Sole Hope. The story of how our jeans could be used to save the feet and even the lives of children on the other side of the world was a high price I was willing to pay with my time.
This Wednesday I am hosting a Sole Hope Shoe Cutting party with the Young Women in our Church youth group. Your jeans will be turned into shoes for children in Africa who desperately need them. We can’t host the party with out denim to cut into shoe pieces.