They wore hearty smiles and blue t-shirts with the word “Dream” written across their chests. Seems fitting for the school and community volunteers who made a dream-like impact on the lives of William M. Boyd Elementary School students.
“Each child was able to get a brand-new pair of shoes and a brand new pair of socks,” said Principal Joi Kilpatrick. “Someone gifted it to them, spent time with them, talked to them. There were some kids who didn’t have on the right sized shoes. So, to be able to get a pair of shoes that were just for them, that fit their feet, it was a magical and heartwarming experience.”
The nonprofit organization behind the experience, Samaritan’s Feet, aims to inspire impoverished children around the world and to offer encouragement to those who need it most.
Boyd counselor Tatanisha Copeland says the impact of the event is beyond a new pair of shoes, thanking volunteers for their time, greeting and smiles.
“We want to create a lasting impression, and sometimes all it takes is a smile and a hug,” said Phil Campbell, Samaritan’s Feet regional director of operations. “These children will never forget this day as long as they live.”
The Jan. 24 event at Boyd was sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service based in Washington, D.C. and Thrivent Financial in Marietta, Ga. Thrivent Financial is a non-profit organization that aims to “help Christians build solid financial futures and strengthen their communities,” according to its website.
“It’s so important to serve kids in any capacity, and that is what Thrivent does best,” said Sharon Weatherspoon, an office professional at Thrivent Financial. “This is my first time doing this event. As soon as the kids hit the door, my smile went from east to west. Thrivent Financial is really keen on doing work in the community. Helping others thrive – that’s our goal.”
Since its founding in 2003, Samaritan’s Feet and its partners have distributed over 6.8 million pairs of shoes in 108 countries.