The Perfect Day in West Virginia

“The first thing he did when he got in the house was put on his new shoes,” said Kaylee about her cousin Gabe. After switching into his brand new gray sneakers that he had just received from Samaritan’s Feet in Roderfield, WV, Gabe grabbed two of his cousins to run to Jimmy’s Hardware so they, too, could get some new shoes.

McDowell County, West Virginia once again proved to be one big family. It’s a community that looks out for one another; it’s a community that when asked what is your favorite part about living here, the answer is almost always ‘the people.’

One young lady, Celena, got her new shoes and then returned about 30 minutes later with two large bags. She had gotten shoe sizes of some of the disabled individuals who lived in her apartment building. She didn’t want them to miss out just because they couldn’t get to the distribution.

This was the second time Samaritans Feet served in this area of West Virginia. Alicia, who works for School for Life, Samaritans Feet host and partner in West Virginia, said, “I remember people in my neighborhood talking about how comfortable the shoes were they got last year” upon the teams arrival back in Gary, WV.

Another person we got to see again was 89-year-old Ms. Virginia. When the team arrived, she instantly said, “I’m so grateful. It’s so hard here.” She once again came with her list of shoe sizes for her family and friends and mentioned she “just likes to help others out.”

“The community looks forward to people coming back. They’ll constantly ask are there any missions teams coming?’,” said School for Life Program Coordinator Marjie. “These events really give them an opportunity to talk to people outside of their little world here.”

Flyers for the local shoe distributions could be found at the counter in the gas station at the center of town and on bulletin boards inside apartment buildings. The small towns were ready and excited.

Just before the first distribution started, the rain stopped. The sun slowly came out. A slight breeze ever-so-gently moved the lush green leaves of the mountains surrounding the team. Delightful and thankful conversations filled the air. Conversations like these:

A 3-year-old shy girl stayed in the car as her Hope Tote was handed to her. But, as soon as she pulled her bright pink Peppa Pig shoes out, she yelled “YAY!” with a big smile on her face.

Soon after, a grandmother proudly watches as her granddaughter receives new shoes saying, “earlier I asked her ‘why aren’t you wearing your shoes right?’ And she replied, ‘because they’re too tight.'”

The timing was perfect. The fit was perfect. The day was perfect.

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