Partnership for a Greater Cause

In the heart of a vibrant community in Wenatchee, WA, Samaritan’s Feet collaborated with The Basketball League’s Wenatchee Bighorns and the YMCA to host an inspiring shoe distribution event. Not only was essential footwear provided to families in need, but the event fostered a sense of unity and joy, illustrating the power of community service.

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Shawn Cooprider, the owner of the Bighorns, sees a strong alignment between the values and missions of his organization and Samaritan’s Feet, especially in their mutual desire to serve neighbors in need. Cooprider is passionate about involving his players in community service and hopes to inspire other team owners in the league to sponsor similar events in the future. Kathy Slyder, Regional Development and Sports Initiative Manager at Samaritan’s Feet, worked with Cooprider to host this event for the local Wenatchee community, and hopes that it’s one step toward spreading Samaritan’s Feet’s mission west of the Mississippi, showcasing the potential for a broader impact.

The atmosphere at the event was electric, marked by an outpouring of enthusiasm and gratitude. Kirsten Kays, Chief Program Officer at Samaritan’s Feet, recounted a particularly touching moment involving a mother who had adopted three children. She stood with tears streaming down her cheeks, overwhelmed with emotion as her son joyfully demonstrated his agility in his new shoes. “She was incredibly thankful to the Bighorns, the YMCA, and Samaritan’s Feet for the event,” Kirsten noted.

The gym buzzed with excitement as children and parents entered to the applause of the volunteers. Nine volunteers were present solely to cheer on the children, creating a noisy, joyous, and emotional environment. Fifty families attended the event, each experiencing the profound impact of this act of kindness.

“The gift of shoes meets a basic need, but also allows for deep connections with individuals,” Slyder added.

Throughout the event, various heartwarming interactions highlighted the genuine care and attention provided by the volunteers. One story that stood out involved a shy nine-year-old girl who clung to her mother. A volunteer noticed her apprehension and patiently engaged with the child through her mother. Initially hesitant, the girl eventually warmed up and tried on a pair of shoes, leaving the event smiling with happiness. The dedication of the volunteers in making her feel comfortable and supported was evident and celebrated.

The event was further enriched by the presence of Bighorn volunteers, a three-generation family of women, and residents of a nearby retired community. The Samaritan’s Feet shoe distribution event, in partnership with the Bighorns and the YMCA, was a beautiful testament to the power of community service. It provided not just shoes, but also hope, joy, and a sense of belonging to many families.