Thursday, January 17, 2013

Shoeless child touches hearts

When you’re busy processing, packing and distributing gifts and toys for 9,500 people – mainly children – it was sometimes easy to get so caught up in “making it happen” that you forgot what you really were making happen.

On the first day of distribution the weather was bitter cold. I was helping a mother take her items to her car when her little girl who appeared to be about seven came running to meet us, hoping she might catch a glimpse of what was in “her” bag. (She couldn’t. The bags are opaque for that reason!) I looked down at her feet and saw that they were bare, leaned over and said, “Missy, what in the world are you doing without your shoes on? It’s freezing out here!” Still bouncing with excitement she said to me in a very matter of fact manner, “I don’t have any shoes anymore. Our house burned down the other night.”

 I looked up at the mother who shrugged her very weary shoulders and said, “We thought me losing my job was the worst thing that could happen before Christmas then our house caught on fire. We have nothing left and had no insurance. If it weren’t for you [The Salvation Army], we wouldn’t even have a Christmas.”

I asked them to wait a moment and rushed back inside the warehouse. I went to the table where the extra clothing was kept and searched for anything that would fit the little shoeless girl. All I could find were a pair of house shoes and some pink flip-flops with flowers on them. 

This is not the little girl from the
story but we think she looked as
I took them back outside and held them out rather apologetically to the little girl and told her I couldn’t find anything warmer that looked like they would fit. She squealed with excitement and turned to her mother begging, “Please Mom, can I keep them? Please? They match my shirt! I love flip-flops!” When her mother said “yes” the little girl gave me a big hug and immediately put on the flip-flops, as happy as could be.

I didn’t look at the distribution process the same again. It reminded me of the quote that says, “To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world.” To the world, those house shoes and flip-flops may not be much but they were everything to that little girl.
And I got to be part of that.

-DJ Morrow

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