AAA Members since 2002, Manny and Tracie Ohonme met while attending college in North Dakota. Manny came to the United States from Nigeria on a basketball scholarship. They married, moved to Charlotte and established their careers.
“We both worked corporate jobs,” explains Tracie. “Manny, with start-ups and IT companies, and I worked several accounts in corporate travel.”
Community service was a priority for the couple. They often spent Saturdays serving lower income neighborhoods. An opportunity to do something greater seemed to tug at them. When Manny returned to Nigeria in 1997 for his father’s funeral, the call became clear.
“Manny saw a lot of children like himself where there was an opportunity to take away the marginalized issues,” explains Tracie. “He thought ‘Here’s an opportunity to bless children like myself through sports or education.’”
Though it took a few years for the couple to completely give in to the dream, Samaritan’s Feet became a reality in 2003. The organization’s goal — put 10 million pairs of shoes on the feet of impoverished children all over the world. Providing a pair of shoes can be a catalyst of hope and the chance for a better life. Children can focus on their education instead of worrying about lacking basic needs like shoes.
Their AAA Membership has come to the rescue many times over the years. “It’s been such a blessing,” says Tracie. “We put all our kids on as soon as they could drive! We utilize our membership as much as possible — AAA discounts when we book travel, needing a new battery, when my daughter locked her keys in the car. It’s been a lifesaver.”
January marks the beginning of the “MLK Day of Service.” Samaritan’s Feet offers volunteer opportunities on Martin Luther King, Jr holiday weekend and through March. Visit SamaritansFeet.org for more information.