Wednesday, August 12, 2015

August 2015 Trip Report

Another trip has come and gone. We've been home for a couple days now, and I'm still catching up on laundry and getting our personal suitcases back down to the basement. It was a great vacation though, and a successful shoe giveaway!

We arrived on Wednesday, July 29 and I think before we even arrived at the hotel people knew we were coming. We picked Thursday, July 30 at 1pm as the time to start our Soleful Suitcases pop-up boutique (doesn't that sound so much more fun than just plain shoe giveaway?) and word spread like crazy. We had several people ask if they could come a few minutes early because of their work schedule, and we tried to work with them.

Thursday came, and after lunch the hubs (Trevor) and I headed to our room to unpack suitcases and pair up the shoes. We got a room this year with a large ground floor deck, so we were able to push aside all the furniture and set the shoes out. Did I mention how many pairs yet? No? Oh, well it was EIGHTY-SIX!! pairs. Let me say that again. EIGHTY-SIX pairs! How awesome is that!!!

We put the men's on the left side and the women's on the right, and for about an hour and a half had a great time helping people find shoes and giving them two pairs of brand new socks as well. It was also great to see shoes from trips past still in great shape getting daily love on people's feet still. Seeing that just re-affirms to me that these shoes are filling a real need, are valued, and make a difference.

The pop-up boutique

We stopped for the afternoon, and still had about 25 pairs of shoes left. The night shift came on, and several of those people stopped by to pick up shoes as well.

We also had some larger men's shoes donated on this trip, which I'm thankful for. Often the larger footed men come, look, and leave empty handed. Not this time! One lifeguard came through on the
first day and was able to pick up a pair of shoes. He shared with me he had larger feet, and if there were any extra, he would be happy to take a second pair. After a couple days had gone by, I gave him two more pairs of the large size shoes. He was so darn happy. He shared with me that he has a hard time finding shoes his size that are affordable, and he'd been walking around in flip-flops for a while. With the gift of these shoes, he'd be able to go places and do things, and he couldn't wait for his next day off.

Another recipient of the larger size shoes was an older man who makes his living selling woven hats and bowls at different hotels in the area. He has put his four children through college this way, and is proud of that (as I would be too.) I was able to give him a pair of shoes this year, and he was so thankful as well.

Finally, pair 87 was given to a women who missed the initial giveaway. I was able to give her the pair that I'd been using all week, and was happy to make sure she received a pair.

As always, thank you for sharing your shoes, your suitcases, new socks, your warm thoughts and well wishes. These trips would not be possible. Each trip I wonder how many shoes we will receive, and if we will have enough suitcases to take them all. And each trip does not disappoint. It means so much to me that you believe in this little project of mine. But more importantly, it means the world to those who are on the receiving end of the shoes. You truly have a huge impact on their lives.

Here are just a few pictures of those receiving shoes.