A couple of weeks ago, my “Little Sister” mentioned that her dad was supposed to buy her some new shoes but he flaked so her mom was going to buy her some (her father doesn’t live with the family). I realized that I’d only seen her in one pair of shoes, and that it might be the only pair she owned. I decided to take her shoe shopping the following week, but then it occurred to me to do what I do with almost everything I need these days – put the word out. So I posted on Facebook that my Little Sister needed some shoes and if anyone had a pair of the proverbial Shoes Sitting in Your Closet that you Never Wear, please let me know if you want to get rid of them. Luckily, she wears a size 8 which I think is a very common size, because I got a huge response. Within a couple of hours, I had four people tell me they had shoes to give. The first person I managed to meet up with gave me a bag filled with this entire Shoe Wardrobe. She said it made her so sad to think of a 14-year-old girl having only one pair of shoes that she threw as many as she could part with into the bag.
Needless to say, Mari was thrilled with the unexpected shoe bonanza, and seemed almost embarrassed when she remarked that she could wear a different pair to school each day. She reached right for the flats, tried them on, and declared that they fit. She was so happy, and it was so easy.
I’ll tell you more about Maricruz and what a great experience it’s been being a Big Sister in a future post. For now, I just wanted to write about how easy it is to give up buying new if you state your needs to your friend group or community, and how generous people can be, especially when they have a name or a face to attach to their donation. My friend might never have given up any of these shoes to Goodwill, but when she knew they were for a particular girl, she was happy to part with them.
It’s so easy to take things for granted. Having a roof over our head, clothes to wear, and plenty of food to eat is not a given for many people. I try to be grateful every single day. And I’m so thankful to have met Mari, she adds so much joy to my life. At 14, she’s been through more hardship than I have in my entire life, and yet she still retains such spirit and optimism about the world and her future in it. It’s a wonderful privilege to be able to introduce her to part of that world.
Please share your thoughts about donations or anything this post inspires in the Comments section. I’m particularly interested in showcasing organizations that match donors to specific needs so that people are more likely to share what they have.