by Cindy Cook and Ray Coleman
It was a beautiful April day – just perfect for a drive to the reservation. As we prepared for our spring delivery of Walk In Beauty shoes, we smudged ourselves and the truck with sage and asked to be blessed with safe travels.
For a couple of weeks we had been collecting the shoes our volunteer buyers had purchased. Each pair had been selected and tagged for a specific child. The orders were re-checked and now the back of the truck was filled with 28 big blue IKEA bags overflowing with new shoes.
The sight of us visiting schools with bags full of shoes reminded at least one young child of Christmas. A 2nd grade boy from Pinon Elementary exclaimed, “Thank you Santa!” as he ran out of the room with his new shoes.
Stopping at Tsaile Public School to assess their interest in Walk In Beauty, we were surprised to find everyone outside. A fire alarm had gone off requiring a complete evacuation. They were waiting for engineers from Chinle to arrive to verify it was safe to reenter the building. We found the school’s Parent Coordinator, Josephine Yellow, in the parking lot where we told her about Walk In Beauty and signed Tsaile up to receive shoes in the fall. Chinle Boarding School will also be added to the fall delivery.
An objective of Walk In Beauty is to service school-aged children in areas of the reservation where ANE has food runs. Meeting this objective can be challenging as it requires us to criss-cross the entire reservation to make deliveries – which we try to accomplish in a one week period.
Further complicating the delivery process are weather and road conditions. Springtime often brings unsettled weather. Such was the case during this trip. We experienced wind and sand storms and a bit of snow.
We are grateful to those who volunteer their time to purchase and prepare the shoes. We may begin calling them our Hunting and Gathering team as they hunt from store to store for the correct sizes and colors of shoes at the best prices. They then gather them all together and spend a considerable amount of time cutting off tags, removing stuffing materials, lacing them up and tagging them. Our thanks to Janet Dalton, Anna Law, Jessie Bigelow, Jackie Boyd, Isabelle Kalantzes and Summer Campbell-Kelsch for purchasing shoes for the spring delivery.
Expressions of gratitude for the program are received in numerous ways. We saw it in the broad smiles of the children.
Questions about Walk In Beauty? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more photos of the spring delivery visit our Picasa photo album.