Serving in Familiar Places

Ever wondered who helps prepare the hundreds of thousands of pairs of shoes Samaritan’s Feet distributes each year? Meet Derrick.

“My main focus is packing and pulling (reverse: pulling & packing) shoes and socks for distributions across the United States and internationally. We try to make sure that all of the shoes that we are pulling are up to our quality standard,” said Derrick.

Derrick has been on the team for five months and recently experienced his first shoe distribution in a really memorable way—at his old elementary school.

On February 28 at First Ward Creative Arts Academy in Charlotte, NC, 400 students got new shoes. Years ago, that would have been Derrick.

“When I walked into my old elementary school, it’s hard to put what I was feeling into words. It was emotional. I know what we do here and how it affects others, but seeing it at the school that I actually attended, I understand the impact it’s going to make on each individual kid,” said Derrick.

Derrick stood behind the boxed shoes and took several moments to watch the distribution in awe—this was a special and proud moment. But then it was time to jump in. He began to wash feet and serve the children of his old elementary school.

“Washing feet for the first time was humbling, but the reward was so great. It gave me a sense of well-being,” said Derrick.

Derrick was experiencing the fruit of his behind-the-scenes labor. From the warehouse to his elementary school, he watched the shoes bring smiles and anticipation to those that received them.

“There was one girl, I washed her feet and she was just so excited and happy to get the new shoes. When we were done, she walked off to join her class. But then a few minutes later she came running back up to me, remembered my name, and said ‘Thank you Mr. Parker!’ and gave me a hug,” said Derrick. “I think that moment is going to go with me for a long time.”