How Soley for kids began…
In December of 2020 my husband and I took our children to Sonoyta, Mexico to participate in a Toy Drive. All of the children received a toy, but a select few were chosen to receive a new pair of shoes because of their extreme poverty.
While the majority of the volunteers were distributing toys, I was asked to try shoes on the feet of this select group of children.
Watching the children’s eyes light up as I placed new tennis shoes on their feet was so rewarding. These children came to me with broken flip flops or in some cases with no shoes at all. While realizing the desperate need for shoes in the lives of these children, I decided to start a charity called, “Soley for Kids Shoes Drive.”
Our First Soley for Kids Shoe Drive Event, took place July 7, 2021
In July of 2021, we conducted the first shoe drive in Sonoyta, Mexico in an outdoor stadium We actually placed new tennis shoes on 1200 children. It was definitely a trial run, and the process of how the shoe drive event would proceed was not extremely organized.
However, We were able to gather 50 volunteers and each child received a new pair of tennis shoes and socks. We played Disney music and danced in 105 degree weather. Although the volunteers and children were sweating, everyone wore a smile!
I will never forget as I was trying shoes on one little girl, she kept asking me in Spanish, “Me quedan los zapatos, me quedan los zapatos?” This translates in English to, “Do the shoes fit me? Do the shoes fit me?” When I told her, “Yes these shoes do fit you,” she screamed in delight! She loved the white and pink high-top sparkly tennis shoes. She walked away from that service project with a huge grin on her face and I knew that those shoes would bring her joy in many different ways!
Our second shoe drive occurred on Saturday, February 26, 2022. This time our charity, “Soley for Kids,” received more donations and we were able to collect 3000 tennis shoes!
We now have a 501-3C called Soley for Kids Shoe Drive and although we also collect school supplies; shoes are currently our greatest focus!
This shoe drive event was much more organized. Each volunteer was given a specific position and the workings of the shoe drive event occurred much more smoothly! Over two thousand children had shoes tried on their feet and were given a new pair of shoes and socks.
Thanks to Volunteers
This time we had a host of volunteers including
- Section leaders were Spanish speakers and they were each in charge of 3 rows of chairs where children would be led to sit and wait for a volunteer to grab them a pair of shoes and try them on their feet.
- Chaos management,
- Setup and gatekeeper,
- Measurement of children’s feet and sticker placement,
- Transport of shoes
- Set up,
- Hand marking,
- Sucker distributors,
- Sock distributors
To the Future
We look forward to a brighter tomorrow, expanding so we can reach more people. In the great words of Gandhi…We will pursue to
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”