In the movie Forest Gump, the main character says “Momma always says you can tell an awful lot about a person by their shoes: where they go, where they’ve been…”
Consider the shoes of the children we’ve met in the last couple of days. Many have only well worn flip-flops or hand-me-down sandals that may be two sizes too big—or too small. Their shoes show they’ve been playing in the streets, helping out at home, or maybe on a rare trip to the beach. But it’s a safe bet that this footwear hasn’t been worn in school where students are required to have a pair of athletic shoes.
Unfortunately, the cost of required shoes and learning supplies is enough to keep many children from attending school. Prices are significant to families with limited resources and many simply have to make the choice between food and nonessential items.
That’s where Friends of Cozumel volunteers and donors are helping out. Distribution of donated new and gently used athletic shoes began yesterday and will continue for several days.
Our goal is to fit shoes on each and every individual on the list of qualified families in need. Last year we were able to help more than 300 children. This year, the number of children on the list is nearly 500, so donations of shoes are always needed.
Brittanny from Texas is a first-time volunteer. She delighted in working with the children—even when a precocious middle-school student named Alex corrected her pronunciation of the Spanish words for “stand up” and “is it too tight?”
In the end, we could tell an awful lot about these young people who held tightly to their new shoes. They smiled proudly; many said “muchas gracias” while others ventured a try at English with a shy “thank you.” And we learned a little more about where they’ll be going: to school and towards opportunity. ~ Phyllis from Nebraska