TOMS SHOES GIVE-AWAY NOVEMBER 2007
Having a pair of shoes to wear is something most of us take for granted. However for most children in rural Africa this is an ultimate luxury.
Blake Mycoskie of TOMS SHOES donated 50 000 pairs of shoes to our Charity FOOD4AFRICA and flew over to South Africa with some volunteers during November 2007 for two weeks to hand out these shoes at various poverty-stricken communities supported by FOOD4AFRICA. Some of the rural and needy areas we visited where in Port Elizabeth, Ingwavuma, Shakaskraal and Daveyton.
The volunteers experienced so many mixed emotions: ultimate joy to see a child’s smile for receiving their first pair of shoes, total despair to witness such poverty and hunger yet eagerness to learn, and not to forget the awe of our beautiful country and its hospitality.
Every one of us became part of so much more than handing out shoes and being volunteers. The friendships, the cameradie, the tears, the heartache, the laughter and then the silence…
Below are some extracts of the feedback we received after Toms.
STACI RANEW wrote:
I can’t help but feel as though part of my family is missing. I have missed you all so much since being home, but today as we all give thanks for all that we have been blessed with I know that all of our thoughts and prayers are with the children we met is South Africa.
I am thankful for the opportunity to have met each one of you. And I want us all to remember how blessed we are to have experienced such an amazing trip in the company of such extraordinary people.
I feel so lucky to have met all of you and hope to see you again soon.”
ANA MARIA MUNOZ :
It’s been said but I’m going to say it again: I am so fortunate to have shared such beautiful, inspiring, and humbling moments with you all – everything was truly beyond anything I could have imagined. Thank you for the experience of a life time!
OLIVIA LIN :
There are so many words that can be used to describe this trip but what I truly found it to be is hopeful. I am so thankful to have been able to go and to have shared this with you. Many of you have been very inspiring to me and all of this will be unforgettable. This trip has ingrained in me the beauty of human spirit and the connection we all have to one another. I can’t find the words to describe the feeling of connecting with that one little boy or little girl- playing with them, making them laugh, or finally cracking a small smile– regardless of the fact that we may speak a different language and come from such different worlds. I loved every second of it and will never forget South Africa .
JULIE STEINBEISS :
Hi Barbara & Gordon, how are you two? I hope all is well in beautiful South Africa! I have not emailed you to thank you for our wonderful tour and African education…it truly was an amazing trip. Thank you for all you did for us and all that you exposed us to.
My first few days after I left were the hard ones. Every time someone would ask me about the trip I would just start crying. I haven’t really wanted to talk to anyone. I have(almost) stooped crying now.. enough just to get back to work and making sure that I make everyday count. You (Barbara) and Gordon, Wendy, Leigh-Ann and Len (and everyone) have left such a special footprint on my heart…You are doing amazing work..I admire each of you…Amazing impact on your country.. and now a bunch of strangers from America who can’t stop thinking about you! So, in all I just want to say a very large THANK YOU. Thank you for all of your tremendous hard work….
After spending a week back home, I suddenly realize that 10 days in S Africa did make a difference in my life.
I had a blast and feel really fortunate to have met such an eclectic, interesting and passionate group of people. You all really opened my eyes.
PAM AND MIKE MYCOSKIE:
Thanks again for all you do for so many! Please know that you, Len, Brent, Barbara, Sharon, Fana and Leigh Ann are in our daily prayers! We loved getting to know all of you and look forward to seeing you again! I have told so many people about Food4Africa and the wonderful work you all are doing.
These kids are the future of their villages and they are growing up with nothing. We have to do something to help them out soon and we can turn their whole future around. School fees, shoes, medicine, something. Food4Africa is amazing. These 4 people feed 15,000 kids a day and take almost nothing for themselves. They live how we all should and it is very, very inspiring. Please go to their website and get involved.
It was good to meet all you long suffering soldiers of Food4Africa and a very impressive trio you all were.
REBECCA SARKAR MANAGER OF THE HANSON BROTHERS :
Thank you so much for all of your hard work on this trip – you are AWESOME! It was such a privilege to be involved so thank you for all you did!
It is long overdue but I am simply writing to say a very heartfelt thank you.
Since coming home I have quit my job with Urban Outfitters and I am now working for a non-profit In Tucson, Arizona called the Southwest Conservation Corps. I work mostly in the back country of the Southwestern U.S. repairing trails and teaching life/team skills and back packing to groups ages 18-25. I love it.
I know the mission of TOMS and certainly Food4Africa is to change peoples’ lives. I have plenty of shoes and more than enough to eat. I am privileged to live where I live and how I live. And, although the point of the trip was for me to help out in someone else life, I walked away from the experience feeling as though TOMS, FOOD4AFRICA and the children of South Africa did considerably more to change my life than I did to change anyone else.