by Cindy Cook and Ray Coleman
Quaking aspens were tinged with yellow and the air was crisp. It was time for the fall delivery of Walk In Beauty shoes. The truck held nearly 400 pair of new shoes – each tagged for delivery to a specific child. It also held over 130 pair of shoes from inventory.
Building an inventory of shoes allows the dollars of our generous donors to meet the needs of even more children. Knowing what style, color and size of shoes most often requested, we shop sales and hold the shoes in inventory until we receive orders from our schools. A selected number of inventory shoes are taken on each delivery. During the fall delivery we were able to meet emergency needs of 16 children. The inventory was also used to trade out a number of pairs that, due to measuring problems, didn’t fit.
The morning we began deliveries, we said morning prayers along the San Juan River. There had been considerable rain in the area and the river was swollen and a muddy color. The desert was unusually moist and green for this time of year.
Over the summer a new school had been built for the students of the former Mexican Hat Elementary. We met our coordinator, Patricia Bigman, in the lobby of the new Monument Valley Elementary School. The pillars in the lobby were built from stones brought from the mesas behind the school. Adorning the wall of the lobby was a painting made from a photo of Patricia’s children on her homeland.
In spring we visited Many Farms Community and Tsaile Public Schools and agreed to add them to the fall delivery. Our coordinators at both schools did a wonderful job identifying the children in need of shoes and measuring their feet. As we left Tsaile, a kindergarten boy who received new shoes was standing in the hall with his classmates. Pointing at us, he loudly exclaimed, “They’re the ones who gave me the shoes. Thank you Ray. Thank you Cindy.”
Our coordinator at Leupp Boarding School, Colt Chischillie, poses with some of the students who received new shoes. A young boy said, “My old shoes don’t fit.” A broad smile covered his face when he put on his new shoes. Several teachers from Leupp met us in the parking lot to tell us their students had come back to class all excited and showing them their new shoes. They invited us to stay and share fresh mutton with them as a show of their gratitude.
At Pinon Elementary, our coordinator, Rose Blie, looks on as shoes are tried on a special needs child. Teachers at Pinon offer their help.
Each child tries on their shoes to be certain they are a good fit. At Many Farms Public School we were assisted by teacher’s aide, Sadie Hoswoot, Walk In Beauty Coordinator, Lorraine Begay, and a parent volunteer.
At each school, the children’s voices fill the air. “If these fit can I take them home?” “My mom is in Flag. I live with my auntie. She will be so happy.” “Can I go on the playground with these?"
If you have questions about Walk In Beauty please email us.
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