Forward Movement in Charlotte

You met Zaiden, our 10 millionth recipient in South Africa, last month, but we also had a very special day in the United States that helped us get to that historic moment. Read all about the last shoe shipment that went out just hours before we served our 10 millionth recipient.

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“A couple of years ago in the process of distributing toys and games to our families during the holidays, several families asked if we had kids’ shoes. Unfortunately, we did not have any shoes to offer them, and it was a sobering thought that these families needed something as basic as shoes,” said Leslie Teiro, Director of Volunteer and Family Programs, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Charlotte.

But this year would be different for her.

On October 19, just one day before the 10 millionth recipient would be served 8,000 miles away in Cape Town, South Africa, the Charlotte, NC team was getting one last shipment of shoes together for our neighbors at home.

“I am thrilled to be able to offer shoes this year,” explained Teiro.

In order to hit that 10 million mark, the Charlotte team coordinated with two local partners to serve an astounding 1,000 people that day. The Ronald McDonald House received around 600 pairs of baby shoes and The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte, received about 400 pairs of “Dr. Comfort” shoes.

The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte serves individuals and families experiencing homelessness through many different services including food, shelter, case management, housing assistance, after school care, and development classes. Many of those they serve are striving to get back into work in order to provide for themselves and their family, so a new pair of shoes can help with future stability.

“These shoes are also more than sufficient for our guests who are working towards gaining employment and going on interviews. Our case managers who work one on one with our guests have expressed the need and excitement when providing a new pair of shoes to our families,” said Sarah Gamble, Director of Community Engagement and Volunteers, The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte. “The Dr. Comfort shoes are very durable shoes for our moms and single women who are looking for a great work shoe. Many of these women do not have the means to purchase a high-quality reliable shoe that they can wear all day at their employment.”

The mission of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Charlotte is to embrace families of sick or injured children by providing the comfort and support of home during their greatest time of need. They are thrilled to receive the donation of shoes and plan to distribute them in several ways, including offering them through their Family Room and Hospitality Carts in the hospitals at their Holiday Shop in December.

“Any time that we can offer support, like shoes, to our families, it takes a little bit of worry and stress from the family allowing them to focus on the health of their child. To have the shoes to offer our families allows us to expand the types of needs we can help meet,” said Teiro.

These shipments were all coordinated within hours, as Samaritan’s Feet wanted to hit that 10 million mark the next day. The team rallied together quickly using their connections and partners to ensure that the shoes would have the most impact possible.

“I delivered the baby shoes to the Ronald McDonald House and they were so happy to receive them. The Salvation Army sent a driver to our facility to pick up the Dr. Comfort Shoes and when we explained to the driver what we were doing, he joined right in the conversation and in a group picture,” said Steve Myrtle, Warehouse Manager, Samaritan’s Feet.

Samaritan’s Feet prides itself on serving both at home and abroad. The needs may look different, but the result remains the same: tangible hope for a better future.

Gamble added, “these shoes are changing lives and making an impact for forward movement in the lives of others.”