Brightness in the Dreary

Holding umbrellas and wearing their face masks and raincoats, a long line of families, separated by 6 feet, stood and waited outside in the heavy rain near downtown Pittsburgh. It was 9:30 a.m., but the event didn’t begin until 11:00 a.m. These families were ready.

There was going to be a little brightness on this otherwise dreary Friday morning: 500 individuals would receive new shoes courtesy of Republic Airways across five different school locations. Shoes were sorted and organized by size in boxes lined up near the doorways so that serving could be done in the most efficient and safe way.

“Things went really quickly as soon as the doors opened. Before we knew it, all of the shoes at our station were given out,” said J Kipp Zimmerman, First Officer (Pilot) for Republic Airways.

Families walked up to the open doors, told their size, and then were handed their new shoes. Many also received free meals and study packets for their students. There was also time for safe, fun conversations with those who were served.

“The best interactions I had were with some of the kids who were there. Young kids lit up with excitement and told me ‘I really like these!’ when pointing out their new shoes,” said Zimmerman.

During this uncertain time around the world when many people don’t know what’s coming next, Samaritan’s Feet and its partners continue to look for ways to bring a little comfort and joy to those in need.

“Even in the midst of the pandemic and rain, people were joyful and thankful! Honestly I felt just as blessed by the experience as the people receiving the gifts,” said Zimmerman.