It feels like fall. The leaves are changing and there is a nip in the morning air. Summer holidays are over. It is lunch kit, homework and the attempt to get back into the school routine time of year. It is the season of new boxes of crayons, sharp pencils and stacks of lined paper just waiting to be printed on. For most children it is also a time for a new outfit or two and new shoes. This is the stuff of back to school.
Over the last six weeks, almost 700 students in our community went back to school with a new pair of running shoes because of Love in the Laces. Almost 700 students who otherwise would not be able to play games in the gym comfortably or safely in properly fitting shoes, walk confidently down the hallway with their classmates, or show their friends the sparkly laces on their shoes at recess. Did these shoes have an impact on kids in our community? Yes they did.
This year some of us from CrossRoads spent time at Women’s Outreach helping students big and little pick out their shoes. The experience had an impact on the servers as well. Here is what some of them had to say:
From Sandra: “My experience with the shoe distribution this year was very enjoyable and I am so glad to have served. For one thing I never realized just how many children in our city needed new shoes. And the excitement and their expressions as they tried on shoes was heart wrenching. I think that many had not had the opportunity to select new shoes for themselves before.
“One little girl came in and I showed her the container with her size. She nonchalantly moved a few pairs and then near the bottom spotted a pair of ‘Frozen’ shoes and she desperately wanted them. Thankfully the shoes fit her and she was done, no more looking or trying on … just that one pair.
“Two young men came in and needed size 11, but we didn’t have any. They did not become upset or make disparaging remarks but just said they’d come in another time. It was as if they just knew their size would come in. To top it off, they thanked us for having this ministry — it was very touching at how much they appreciated the possibility of new shoes and were so thankful.
“I am thankful Women’s Outreach is in our city and willing to help folks in need – they do any awesome job! I look forward to serving with them again real soon. ”
From Lois: “I enjoyed the experience of helping with Love in the Laces. I was impressed by the politeness and thank yous of those who found shoes for school this year.”
From Lani: “It was fun to get to know other ladies in the church — very interesting to learn more about Women’s Outreach. It is very exciting to be partnering with this outreach, they have such a large role to play in the community.”
From Tania: “One little boy came in looking for shoes and he found some light up ones that he really liked but they were too small for him. So Abbey looked in the next size up and found a pair of light up shoes and gave them to him. He tried them on and they fit. A few minutes later he was running around showing everyone how they could light up. He told her, “I like these shoes you find for me!”
“On the last day that we were there, there were almost no girls’ shoes over size 7. One of the volunteers came in a little late and brought several pair of shoes. No more than 10 minutes later two girls came in looking for shoes and were able to find them in the ones that were just brought in. Talk about God’s perfect timing!
“One mom communicated that she is usually on ‘our side’ of these type of programs, but that their life circumstances had recently changed. It reminded me of the need for judgment free attitudes going into this serving opportunity.
We couldn’t believe how many people were in need. Most of the people were incredibly grateful!”
Sherri says that the thing that stood out to her the most was “The gratitude in the eyes and smiles of the children.”
May God continue to show us ways to be a blessing to others in our community. We are here for a reason and purpose.