I admit that sometimes I’m not sure how campaigns like this and the others we do each year connect with our donors, volunteers and supporters. We have a very ambitious and important goal of generating $100,000 by the end of December so we can provide 100,000 pairs of shoes to those in need. But, it can be a leap from any one contribution to the impact it has on that big number. It gives our team a lot of focus, but what does it mean to you?
Then yesterday happened. Two very different stories that put a face to how those free shoes and clothes matter.
Many of you will have read about or seen the pictures of the wildfires in eastern Tennessee. They destroyed a sizable portion of Gatlinburg and Sevier, where three people died. More than 14,000 had to be evacuated.
And because of the money you donate, and amazing corporate partners who provided the coats, we’ll have 300 coats on the way there this week. There’s a major cold front coming which is great for fighting a fire, but hell on families who lost everything in a fire. We have a long-term supporter there who has collected thousands of pairs of shoes over the years. So not only do we have the coats, but we have a real connection to someone who can bring those coats to people who need them most. Thanks to these high school volunteers, the coats are ready for pick up!
A big shout out the Howard Family, who came and picked up the 300 coats to distribute to the Gatlinburg families in need.
That was in the morning.
Late that evening, one member of our travel team was visiting with one of the Metro Nashville high schools for a public education program with Soles4Souls. While there, we learned that one of the families participating had received shoes from Soles4Souls years ago. They were so grateful and it gave them so much joy to have a new pair of shoes. It is great to see them come full circle, from receiving shoes to now helping fight our mission.
Both parts of this story are possible because 100% of money contributed by people like you.
So, I don’t know how you connect to the $100k goal, but I have the privilege of living the direct, straight line from your gift to the kind of impact I saw in just 24 hours. And, I hope that through all the storytelling we try to do here at Soles4Souls, that you have some insight into just how powerful you are. Whether $25 or $2500 dollars, and we had donations yesterday at both of these levels and everything in between, I promise you it makes a difference. And, whether it’s Haiti, Honduras or Tennessee, it’s often hard to tell the difference when someone is in need of shoes and coats.
Thanks for all the support you have been, are and will be. You make it all possible.