At the time of my last post, nearly six weeks ago, I shared a spreadsheet showing how many of the 416 pair of shoes we had collected so far. At that time, we had 293 pair remaining. As of this evening, just after a phone call from my mom telling me that she was shopping and found four more pair that I needed, we are down to needing only 116 pair more. That means we’ve collected the nice round number of 300. Boy! It has been harder than I thought! I have visited nearly every thrift store in a tri-county area, stopped at dozens of garage sales, and had the help of schools, churches, girl scout troops and individual members of the community. I even have the benefit of a few “shoe fairies” — wonderful women that have shown just as much enthusiasm as me for helping to acquire the shoes I needed. I could not have done it without them.
In reality, we have collected a lot more than 300 pair. But, sometimes there are some donated that are not actually in good enough condition, or the wrong style (we don’t want any flip flops or boots) or duplicate sizes of ones we’ve already collected. Building in the requirement to buy for specific people, with specific sizes, is much more difficult than collecting for the unknown masses. The good news is, as long as the shoes are in good condition, if we don’t take them this year, they will go with us on a future trip. So, even if you have some that are a size already “blacked out” in the last column, don’t fret — still donate them and they’ll eventually get to Guatemala! If you’re buying, though, please only shop for the sizes shown in yellow. In the few instances where it shows a half size, it is ok to go a half size larger! We’re looking for dressy black “school shoes” or tennis shoes for boys, and ideally “flats” for girls (although tennis shoes for girls would also do in a pinch).
We’re getting down to the wire. Since our “packing party” is slated for July 20th, I was hoping to be in possession of all donations we’re taking to Guatemala by July 19th. So, on about July 12th, I am going to be placing online orders for whatever is not physically donated. We’re needing a few more shoe fairies! Please take a look at our latest spreadsheet and let me know if you have some gently used pairs to contribute. Or, if you’d like to shop, or donate some funds so that we could shop, that would be great too!
Soon we will be ready to make the gift tags for the shoes! We are going to label them with each person’s name and create a gift bag for each of the 68 families in the community. In addition to shoes for every member of the family, the gift bag will contain adult and children’s multivitamins. And, for the families where it applies, there will also be prenatal vitamins! It will be nice to add that personal touch. Without a doubt, this is a very personal endeavor for us. Having the list of all 416 people in the 68 families makes it very “real” — they are named. They were chosen. Our friend, Diego, went to their homes and recorded the data we would need to see this project to the end.
If you decide to help, I hope it will feel personal for you too.