Title from this episode of Backyardigans. Not kidding.
Monday morning started off a bit rough. Matt and I had a small, rare, tiff (made up quickly…no worries, folks), so I was crabby. Plus, I’d just taken Bennett to school a little late because he’d lost his tooth at breakfast, so I was on fainting-patrol for a while, which just stresses me out. Leaving the house at that early hour had not been in my plans, but I decided to make the most of the fact that I was a) wearing clothes and not pajamas AND b) I had brushed my hair by 7:45am by swinging by QuikTrip for a soda.
As I pulled into my parking spot, a large SUV pulled in next to me. A cowboy-looking man got out of the vehicle, held the door to the store open for me as I walked in with Jack Henry, and announced to the employees and everyone there, “Good morning, QuikTrip!” in a loud voice.
I couldn’t help but smile at the enthusiasm he shared with everyone. A tiny bit of my cranky mood lifted.
I brought my foam cup to the counter, where the cowboy was paying for his coffee. He motioned me forward, and paid for my drink.
“Really?” I said. “Well, thank you. That was awfully nice of you.”
“Well, I’m supposed to be nice,” he boomed, “I’m the Shoeman!”
“OH! I know who you are!”
We then had a brief conversation about what he does, and how we’ve donated to him before through various shoe drives in the area at VBS and through the boys’ school.
And I left QuikTrip in a decidedly better mood than I’d arrived in just 2 minutes earlier.
Here’s who The Shoeman is:
-His real name is George Hutchings, and per his bio on his website, he’s a Purple Heart recipient for his service in the Marine Corps in Vietnam.
-He decided after the service to get his Masters from a Theological Seminary, and turned his focus to humanitarian efforts, now called Shoeman Water Projects.
Here’s what The Shoeman does:
-He collects new and used shoes of all kinds and all sizes through donations from individuals.
-He uses those shoes to get people in Kenya fresh water.
Here’s how it works, from his website:
Once collected, the shoes are given a second life when the Shoeman exports the donated shoes to retailers in the developing world. The resale of shoes provides jobs and affordable footwear. Funds generated from the export of shoes provides well drilling rigs, water purification systems, and hand pump repair micro businesses, bringing clean, fresh water to those who thirst.
Very cool, isn’t it?
Here’s what I want to do:
Collect shoes to bring to him. This is so easy, and will cost you nothing (unless you live somewhere far and want to send them to me). Honestly, I’ll be helping you by getting something out of your house that you no longer need, right?
If you’re in the STL area, I’ll even pick them up or meet you somewhere!
Effingham-area readers: I can pick up shoes when I’m home for Easter, so leave me a comment if you have shoes that I can pick up while I’m there. Or, my mother-in-law and brother have graciously offered to be drop-off points for those of you in that area…I can get you their contact information.
All I ask is that you either gently tie the laces together or bind them with a rubber band, so that the pairs stay together.
Oh, I’m asking one more thing of you: share this with people you know! Via email, facebook, whatever.
I looked around in my boxes of garage sale and donate stuff, and I already have 4 pairs to donate without even checking closets. I’m willing to bet that most of you, especially those of you with kids, could do the same.