We did it! A few weeks ago we decided to partner with Shoes2Share and Clubhouse Jr to collect shoes for needy people in Haiti. We asked our neighborhood to help us by collecting all their shoes and leaving them by their mailbox after our neighborhood yard sale. I figured everyone would be cleaning out their closets anyway, so might as well give their shoes to us!
To get the word out, I emailed our homeowners association and they sent out an email to everyone in our neighborhood with a link to my original Shoes2Share post. Then I made a little flier to deliver to our neighbors. We printed them on colorful paper and Lydia folded a large trash bag up inside the flier and stapled it closed. I bought 100 bags and printed 100 flyers. I have to admit she only did about 20 of them. But as any mom of a 4 year old knows, this was like doing 100 of them herself! She worked so hard on it and didn’t complain once.
We really only have 2 streets in our neighborhood, both with about 40 houses on it. So, early one morning while I was walking, I put a flier/trash bag on every mailbox. Then a few days later, Lydia loaded up her bag with fliers and we walked down the other street.
We walked in the blazing hot sun for over 30 minutes while Lydia put the fliers and trash bags on every mailbox. Yeah, it took her a long time. Yeah, we had to talk about not bending the flags or scratching the mailboxes. And yeah, I could have done it 40x faster than her. But I restrained myself and let her do it. And she did!
During the yard sale, about 2 or 3 neighbors dropped off shoes to us. We were so excited! Later, I had to run to the store and saw about 5 bags at different mailboxes. I literally got tears in my eyes! That night, after we packed all our JUNK up and got it off to Goodwill, we drove through our neighborhood to pick up the shoes.
Lydia was beside herself with excitement. My husband drove behind us and Lydia and I picked up every bag. OK, she didn’t really throw them in the back of the truck, but she wanted to!
Soon, the back of the truck was full. We collected 35 bags of shoes! THIRTY FIVE! We were shocked! Even some of the people on the other side of our neighborhood (who I didn’t deliver a flier or bag to) left shoes out for us!
Then it was time to sort the shoes. We started opening bags and rubberbanding them together. Lydia loved matching them and looking at what she considered beautiful or unusual shoes. (Her fave? A pair of wooden flip flops!)
This took us two different days. I felt like the shoes were just multiplying! Lydia did a good bit by herself but some of those big shoes were just too unwieldy to actually connect together. Finally, they were done! Ahhh!
Now it was time to box them up, counting as we went. And how many shoes did we get? Well, SEVEN BOXES worth. A total of TWO HUNDRED AND NINETY THREE SHOES. 293!!! Here’s Lydia with her Clubhouse Jr magazine (showing DeeDee from Shoes2Share) and our SEVEN boxes of shoes!
We had to use my husband’s truck to get the boxes to the mailing & shipping store. Then use a handtruck to get them in the store! It was pretty exciting thinking about our little neighborhood joining with our little family to provide shoes for 293 people in Haiti!!
While we were standing in the shipping store, I could feel some of the other customer’s eyes on us. And I could imagine them saying, “What a waste. Just send that place some money. It’d be a lot easier and probably a better use of your money.” Well, that is possible. It cost a good bit to mail those boxes. And it took quite a bit of time for Lydia and me to make those fliers, staple them together, deliver them, pick up the shoes, sort them, count them and box them.
But do you know what happened besides shoes being delivered? Lydia got to understand what it means to be a part of something big. She got to see what it was to do something hard for God. She was able to catch a glimpse of what the body of Christ does. My four year old spent days doing hands on work for needy people in another country.
And I am praying it begins a way of life for her. That she will always look for hard things to do. I pray her first response is to work for God. To give to others in need. And to realize her time and her life should be spent focused not on herself or her desires, but on the needs and desires of others.
Now it’s YOUR turn! Will you get involved? What can you and your kids do for Shoes2Share? For people in Haiti? For God? How can you collect some shoes? Can you gather just 3 or 4 pairs? How about 10 or 20? Or 300? In not so many words I’m daring you to get involved. It will be an amazing exprience for you and your family!
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Talk to your kids about this challenge. Read the story from Clubhouse Jr about Shoes2Share.
2. Figure out a way you can collect some shoes together. Go door-to-door. Clean out your closets. Set up a box at the front of your local shoe store. Volunteer to clean out your friend’s house and snag all their shoes. Hit up the thrift stores on 50% off day and buy all the shoes. Ask stores to donate. Or come up with something even better!
3. Collect your shoes and follow the instructions from Clubhouse Jr to send your shoes to Shoes 2 Share.
4. Come back here August 1st and link up your Shoes2Share blog post, facebook update or just leave a comment about what you and your family did for Haiti–and for God! We’re going to have a mini-party and celebrate our kids and our experiences!
I cannot wait to see what you and your family are going to do! Don’t forget to grab the Shoes2Share button (—>it’s in the sidebar for all you email and feed readers) to post on your site or facebook. And if you are tweeting use the hashtag #shoes2share!
See you August 1st!