Project Description

A Special Fit

599 miles. One family drove 599 miles for the opportunity to receive a brand new pair of size 16 shoes and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“Our family had gone back-and-forth all summer about what to do for a family vacation. Once I learned about this special shoe giveaway, we knew immediately that driving to Charlotte was just what we were supposed to do. Our vacation would become a road trip,” said Dawn, mother to Ethan, who resides in Indiana.

Dawn had learned on social media that NBA Charlotte Hornets player Cody Zeller was doing a special shoe distribution with Samaritan’s Feet, where they were giving away his size shoe, size 16, an often scarce and expensive pair of shoes. Her son Ethan was just going into a size 16 and they were huge Cody Zeller fans, as they were both from Indiana. It was meant to be.

So, they packed their favorite Indiana University Hoosiers shirts (where Zeller played in college), and hit the road. They continued out of Indiana, passed through Kentucky and Tennessee, and arrived at the Samaritan’s Feet warehouse in Charlotte, N.C.

“As we walked through the doors we could immediately feel a presence of love. What stood out was witnessing prayer. Everywhere you looked people were holding hands and praying and others were crying tears of joy. It was an overwhelming moment to witness,” Dawn said.

The day would become even more special for this family as Cody Zeller himself approached the family wearing his alma mater’s name.

“Cody introduced himself and he and my son went to pick out shoes. They walked back together with a pair of shoes in hand, sat down across from each other, talking, smiling, and laughing non-stop together. They held hands and prayed together. What we witnessed was beyond anything we could have ever imagined. My son was moved to tears,” Dawn said.

It was a beautifully moving day for Dawn, her family, and so many others.

It was filled with an atmosphere of gratitude and joy as many individuals who often don’t get a choice in their footwear because of the size, were greeted by smiling volunteers eager to help them make that choice and serve them one-on-one.

“To see the smiles on their faces just to get a pair of these new shoes was really inspiring for me, and hopefully it inspires them to be able to do more,” Cody Zeller said.

Dawn added, “Thank you all at Samaritan’s Feet for what you’ve created to help others and from the bottom of our hearts, thank you Cody Zeller.”

That day, Dawn and her family traveled 599 miles for a simple pair of shoes—but they also ended up experiencing kindness and generosity in a way they’ll never forget.

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