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Sometimes One Word Says It All

A lot happens on our international shoe distributions. There’s the obvious process itself, of course.

Men, women and even kids from different cities, backgrounds and walks of life volunteer to give back. They load and unload bags of shoes together, sweat together, laugh and cry together, and make new friendships that last a lifetime.

In our summer trip to Guatemala, our mix of volunteers was as colorful as the country’s famed Quetzal bird. There was Kelly, a Florida Keys mother whose five-year-old requested daily updates from the field. And Lindsey, a recent high school graduate from Ashland, Tennessee whose clothing closet helped many a classmate in need. And Cindy from Marble Falls, Texas who would bring it all full circle.

Through their efforts—and those of our corporate partners providing us high-quality product and individual donors helping us get it to where it’s most needed–we’re able to distribute new shoes to children living in extreme poverty all over the world.  

Like the more than 300 children we met living alongside the mountains of Chiquimula. The natural green beauty of their surroundings fails to mask the dark realities of their life. They are the faces behind the statistics in a country where more than half survive on less than $1.90 per day.

The team worked tirelessly over two days to ensure each of them received a brand new pair of shoes. That meant piling onto the backs of pickup trucks, rain or shine, and braving the bumps along windy dirt roads. It meant using broken Spanish and hand signals while facing each boy and girl, washing their small feet and finding the perfectly sized pair of shoes to keep them healthy and in school. It meant not needing any language aids at all to feel the gratitude in their hugs and smiles.

This was all new for Cindy, and so much more than she had ever hoped. Her work in the children’s ministry at her local church was fulfilling, but something inside her kept calling out in a voice she didn’t quite understand.

So along with the rest of the team, Cindy prepared for each day of shoe distributions with enthusiasm and humility. One morning, she grabbed a t-shirt from her suitcase not realizing what it would later symbolize. She worked a busy day fitting kids for shoes and was satisfied. But it wasn’t until two little ones came up and flung themselves at her in an unexpected gesture of love that the word on her t-shirt made sense.


“That was my a-ha moment!” she continues.


having a strong spiritual quality; awe-inspiring; in the presence of something greater than yourself

That word captured it all perfectly—the joy in serving another human being, the worth of things we take for granted, the riches hiding in the most unusual places. Raw inspiration.

And this is where the less obvious things happen on our distribution trips.

Cindy grabbed hold of her inspiration and ran with it in a way that most of us don’t or can’t. She took her numinous moment and brought it back home to Texas, where suddenly she understood that voice screaming inside. She resigned from her position working with kids living pretty happy lives and turned to those who don’t as a special advocate, speaking up for the most vulnerable in her own community. And always remembering the vulnerable she helped in Guatemala.

“Just like the shoe distribution trip, I had no idea what I was getting myself into and the impact it would have in my life,” she concludes. “I am where I need to be.”

We invite you to experience your own numinous moment through a financial donation. Shoes are an urgent need for children like those who transformed Cindy’s life in Guatemala. Without them, they risk terrible illnesses from soil parasites and won’t be allowed to attend school.

$1 = 1 PAIR