Just like many of you, Shoes 4 the Shoeless ushered in 2020 as a year with great expectations. After seeing continued exponential growth in our ability to serve more children than ever before in 2019, we were optimistic to continue that growth and expand our “Shoe Closet” program in schools and partner organizations.
January and February were filled with school based deliveries. These events felt “normal.” Children were running, laughing, and experiencing the joy that a pair of brand-new shoes just for them provide.
In March, our country, state, and communities began to grapple with how to handle the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools began closing for the remainder of the spring semester. We knew that shoes and socks would not be a “front-burner” need for the children we serve. Food was going to be an on-going crisis. We began working with various community partners and churches to develop plans to get food to the most desperate. The Food 4 the People project was born. A Coalition of People who Care, we banded together to support over 300 families and provide over 110,000 meals to people within our communities from March through June.
Food for us was never going to be a permanent shift in mission, it was meant to stand in the gap as the food supply lines were put back together after government regulated shut downs. We are proud to have stood there for so many that are consistently marginalized by our society. We were itching to get back to our bread and butter of providing shoes and socks though.
In July, we partnered with Springfield City Schools to begin testing out the feasibility of conducting a “Drive-Through Shoe Delivery.” It worked! Since July, we have been conducting drive-through deliveries and dropping off “Shoe Closets” to various partners. The Shoe Closet allows a partner to meet a need quicker than having to reach out to us as they have a small supply of shoes on-hand.
As a recap of our year, we have provided just shy of 12,000 pairs of shoes and over 110,000 meals to our community. Just like many of you, we have experienced the challenges of overcoming obstacles placed in front of us. It may not be the staggering number of shoes we are “used to,” and there is plenty of work to be done, but we are THANKFUL.
We are beyond thankful for many of you who continue to believe in and partner with this mission.
Just like the culmination of 2019, we will usher in the new year with optimism and hope.
From Kris, Jonathan, Michelle, and the rest of the S4TS Team, we wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.