Last Friday, we canceled all of our regular classes and worked with a visiting organization to hand out shoes to the children of El Porvenir.  Soles4Souls is a nonprofit enterprise “committed to fighting poverty through the collection and distribution of shoes and clothing.”  According to their website, they have distributed 26 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries and all 50 US states.  This was their second time coming to El Porvenir.

Waiting for shoes

Soles4Souls brings teams of volunteers with their own staff to help distribute the shoes.  They have a well-organized system to make sure the shoes get to those who really need them.  Each of us was assigned a job and worked alongside the Soles4Souls volunteers.  The greeters met children and families as they arrived and directed them to the line.

Who’s next?

Other volunteers helped to measure the children’s feet.  More were waiting to bring the children into the fitting area which was set up like a shoe store.  Once seated in a chair across from a volunteer, the runners would bring the correct size over.  Next, there were more volunteers outside ready to hand out small gifts (stickers, bubbles, balloons) to the children as they left.  Finally, volunteers with Sharpies in hand helped the children decorate their new shoes.  I was assigned to be one of the photographers.

Guaranteed to make you smile

I took over 700 pictures on Friday.  It was an amazing event and everyone had fun.  Many children showed up two hours before we began distributing shoes and stayed all day.  They mostly just wanted to play with the volunteers.  Here are some of the photos to give you an idea of the day which was filled with positive energy and lots of smiles.

They fit!
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Comments (12):

  1. Paula M Agins

    July 25, 2016 at 06:10

    The things we take for granted! We should be so thankful.

    • Tim Flanagan

      July 25, 2016 at 14:43


  2. Eve Horowitz

    July 25, 2016 at 08:30

    Thanks Tim – – – I was so sad I couldn’t be there but your post is the next best thing!

    • Tim Flanagan

      July 25, 2016 at 14:44

      I think it was the highlight of everyone’s week.

  3. LInda Wight

    July 25, 2016 at 12:16

    The children look so happy and it is reflected in their faces and. It is in yours. I hope the little one who didn’t want to be there was also smiling. We do take a lot for granted here. Stay well Tim, cousin Linda

    • Tim Flanagan

      July 25, 2016 at 14:45

      He kept crying all day, even with his mom, but he did get shoes! The happiness of the kids is definitely infectious.

  4. Millie

    July 25, 2016 at 16:39

    “Bubble Girl” photo did make me smile, as did all of the great photos! What a rewarding day for all.

  5. Diane Weisman

    July 25, 2016 at 21:20

    Tim, you took great photos of such a fun and happy day. Thanks for sharing tthe simple joys that mean the most.

    • Tim Flanagan

      August 18, 2016 at 19:45

      It was a favorite day for most of the volunteers.

  6. Julie Aquilizan

    July 31, 2016 at 18:21

    Great pictures! A good reminder to be thankful! Thank you for making a difference in the world!

    • Tim Flanagan

      August 18, 2016 at 19:46

      Thanks, Julie. It was so much fun!


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