So remember about a month ago when I told you all about the Flippin’ Good Deeds Challenge sponsored by flipflop wines? Well, since that time, I have been up to my eyeballs in shoes. In glorious, gently-used, ready-to-go-to-a-good-home shoes. In all, we collected 1167 pairs of them. 1167! It blows my mind to think that almost 12o0 pairs of feet might get protected as a result of the generosity of my town and university through the Soles4Souls shoe charity.
Now, while I was thrilled to receive phone calls on a daily basis telling me that another of our collection boxes was full, I very quickly realized that I needed somewhere to store our bounty until it could be delivered to the warehouse. So, while we were waiting for the shoe drive to end, I decided to store them in an old classroom that currently wasn’t in use. This picture was taken about halfway through the drive and by the end of the drive, 3/4 of the room was covered in black garbage bags. It was impressive!
As the shoes began piling up (literally!), I started to get concerned about how we were going to get them from our storage area to Gaffney, South Carolina, which was the nearest collection warehouse for Soles4Souls.
When I voiced my concern, my campus community once again rallied to my cause and the Police Department graciously allowed me to use a large box truck of theirs to transport the shoes to South Carolina. So, on a chilly morning one week ago, I wrangled a gaggle of students to assist in the loading of the truck and 30 minutes later, we were on our way!
Here I am hanging off of the back of the (very large) truck that housed our precious cargo.
And just like that, we were off! It was quite the bumpy ride and the truck didn’t go faster than 55 MPH, but with each mile, I knew that it was a worthwhile trip. We pulled into Gaffney, South Carolina just under 3 hours later and the nice folks at the warehouse got us in and taken care of in a jiffy. Here’s our truck at the loading dock.
During the drive back, I couldn’t help but reflect on how good it felt to give to those in need, particularly when I feel so blessed with abundance in my own life. I mean, the fact that I have shoes to spare speaks of a comfort and security that other can only wish for.
Filled with a hopefulness that my extra stuff could make a world of difference to others, I started sorting and stacking things that I thought could go to those less fortunate as soon as I got home. Clothes, blankets, toiletries, canned goods – it’s all in stacks in my storage room ready to be delivered early next week.
This holiday season, I’d like to encourage all of you to get involved in your communities to see how you can help those in need. We all talk about service, but so often, we get caught up in the daily grind and we often don’t get to contribute as we intend to. So please, host a shoe drive of your own (go to soles4souls.org to find out how), donate your gently used clothes to a domestic violence shelter or contact your local soup kitchen to see if you can help them. It’s amazing how each and every one of us is capable of lessening the suffering or discomfort of others.
Oh and make sure that you stock up on flipflop wines since they donate a pair of shoes to Soles4souls with each bottle purchased. I don’t know about you, but that’s reason enough for me to stock up for the holidays!