After some research, they found Samaritan’s Feet, which was founded by Manny Ohonme, who grew up in Nigeria and didn’t get his first pair of shoes until he was 9. “We felt it aligned with our company’s mission and passion for children,” Kellogg-Joslyn says.
This year, Samaritan’s Feet has a goal of reaching the 10 million mark in terms of shoe donations, and Kellogg-Joslyn plans to help the nonprofit reach that goal.
All the money donated comes from the Titanic attractions and sponsors. Staff are not asked to contribute but they are involved in the process of giving.
Kellogg-Joslyn brought in the founder of Samaritan’s Feet, who spoke to Titanic staff. Mary also purchased his book for each of their 250 crew members.
“One of our crew members is 19 and she came up to Manny Ohonme and said, ‘When I was 12, I got my first pair of shoes.’ What are the chances? It was incredible,” she says.
Mary Kellogg-Joslyn and John Joslyn have donated shoes in Missouri and Tennessee, where their museums are located. They have supported Boys & Girls Clubs in Branson since 2006 when they opened Titanic Museum Attraction in Branson. They prefer not to discuss how much they donate or how much this project costs, saying they will do what it takes to meet their commitment because children’s charities are close to their hearts.
This fall, they will gift shoes to three Boys & Girls Clubs in Springfield. Next year, they plan to continue to donate to children in the Branson area but also added Hannibal, Missouri, and Harrison, Arkansas, to their distribution plans.