It’s not as easy as it may seem. Each spring and fall, we deliver 300 to 400 pairs of sneakers. Each pair is bought with a particular child in mind. The list that I receive from the school coordinators tells me the child's name, sneaker size, and color preference. I go to some stores because they offer a variety of half sizes, others I know will be good for finding wide sizes, both of which are difficult to find. It is not a one stop shopping experience! It is many hours and many days, bordering on weeks, of sneaker shopping.
I have a room that I call “My Shoe Room”.
Once I have all of the school orders organized into tote bags, I load them all into my truck. I put the school that I will deliver to last, in first, and continue in backwards order from there. Until the last bag that is put into the truck is the first school I will deliver to. Then I also fill bags with extra sneakers (these are for when the sneaker size requested isn’t really the perfect size for the child, especially since every brand of sneaker doesn’t measure sizes the same). I bring 2 or 3 pairs of every size (including half and wide sizes) in both boys and girls. This adds up to an extra 140 pair of sneakers, on top of the 300 to 400 pair that are tagged with the name of a child. That’s a lot of sneakers to squeeze into one F-350 Super Duty!
Its all worth it!
Day 1 (Monday): Bluff Elementary. Bluff is in Utah. A town of 250 people. Bluff is one of the southern-most towns in the State of Utah.
Day 2 (Tuesday ): Aneth and Monument Valley. Aneth Community School is a new school to our program this year. The town of Aneth is within the Navajo nation, has a population of about 600 people, and the school serves approximately 160 students. Monument Valley Elementary School is located just outside of the Park, and has amazing and very large Navajo Rugs on display, just inside the lobby area.
Day 3 (Wednesday): Rock Point and Tsaile. Rock Point Community School is another new school to our program. Rock Point is located just over the border of Utah, in Northern Arizona. Rock Point is named for the point where Chinle Creek enters an area of high sandstone cliffs. Tsaile, Arizona has a population of 1200 and is home to the main campus of the Dine College.
Day 4 (Thursday): Mesa View and Many Farms. Mesa View Elementary is one of 3 elementary schools within the town of Chinle. Chinle is the gateway to Canyon de Chelly. Many Farms Public School is one of the larger schools that Walk In Beauty delivers to, with a population of 425 students in grades K thru 8th.
After the first 5 days of sneaker deliveries … it is finally the weekend!!!!!! We are beat …exhausted … drained, but also full of gratitude and appreciation from the children. We hope to rejuvenate with some rest and relaxation, before we start all over again in 2 days.
Day 7 (Tuesday): Seba Dalkai and Dilcon. Seba Dalkai is the second smallest school that we serve, with 105 students in grades K thru 9th grade. Dilcon Community School can be found in the southern area of the Navajo Nation, not far from Winslow. Dilcon is said to mean “smooth black surface” or “bare rock”. Dilcon is also known for being the Native American community that challenged and defeated a company claiming to want to build a recycling plant but actually wanting to build a toxic waste dump. The environmental movement in Dilkon, Arizona was featured in the People of Color Environmental Leadership Conference Resource Tape, 15 minutes long, the tape features five different communities of color and their struggle with environmental injustices.
The Spring 2015 Walk In Beauty delivery was a major success! 13 days on the road. 1670 miles traveled.
We can't wait to do it again in September!