Purchase photos

Cornerstone providing smiles, soles to needy

5/15/2014

By RANDY GONZALES

By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

Since Cornerstone Orthodontics opened in 2010, Brandon and Jessica Johnson and their staff wanted to have contests for their patients.

At first, it was contests such as guessing the number of items in a jar. But last winter, the contest involved a coat drive, and the current contest involves a shoe drive. This summer, there will be a contest involving a drive for school supplies.

"We decided we really wanted to make the contest more into something that is for the greater good," Jessica Johnson said. "At the heart of our organization is giving and being able to meet needs of other people."

Cornerstone Orthodontics' shoe drive started in April and continues through June. The shoes are being collected to help the poor through Soles4Souls, a global anti-poverty organization founded in 2006.

The organization's website says it distributes both shoes and clothes to people in need and by funding micro-enterprise programs designed to create jobs in poor and disadvantaged communities.

"God has blessed us immensely," Johnson said. "That's what we're here for, to be a blessing to others.

"Meeting the needs of people around us is really at the heart of our team. Everyone who works here is very passionate about that."

Patients in Cornerstone Orthodontics' offices in Great Bend and Smith Center also are participating.

People don't have to be a patient to donate a pair of shoes.

In the waiting room at Cornerstone Orthodontics last week, shoes were piled in a corner.

There were five boxes filled with shoes in a back room, and 14 boxes of shoes stored next door.

Jessica Johnson estimated they had approximately 400 pairs of shoes -- and more arriving.

"I was just hoping for a couple hundred," Johnson said.

"We've been overwhelmed, to say the least."

Each time patients bring in shoes, they get a slip of paper with their names on it. At the end of the contest, the person whose name is drawn receives a new pair of Beats headphones.

"Putting a smile on someone's face, whether it's through braces or shoes or coats or whatever it is they're in need of, is extremely important to us," Johnson said.