Brand-New Shoes This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
     It is that time of year, of thanksgiving and joy, fun and laughter, food and family. The weather cools and everyone gets cozy and warm in sweaters. It's tradition to cook a feast and throw a party. But have you ever stopped to think of those who do not have that privilege? Those who can't afford a turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and all the other wonderful dishes? Those who freeze at night, covering themselves with what little they have? Those who have very little, but more often than not are grateful for what they do have?

Last Thanksgiving, I had the honor of giving back. My church youth group traveled to a small town in Mexico to hand out brand-new shoes. It was the best thing I could have done, and changed me in a way I'll never forget.

It was a long drive to Rosarita, Mexico but we finally made it to the church where we were to sleep for the next two nights. The roads were dirt and gravel and the houses lining them barely looked like houses. I was scared and devastated. How could people live like this?

That next morning we ate a small breakfast and started to pack the hundreds of donated shoes into the trailer. After traveling many dirt roads, we made it to the community where we would start our mission. Setting up was easy, but walking through the fields to invite people to accept a new pair of shoes was hard. Few spoke English, which became a great challenge, but with our few Spanish words and welcoming smiles they accepted our invitation. Children and adults began to appear from all directions, each wanting new shoes. There was a mother with two children; her newborn baby remained at home. The two little boys beamed when they saw their cool Batman sneakers. As soon I put them on their feet, they ran around trying them out. Now they could do almost anything. The mother quietly accepted hers. She smiled with thanks and went to gather her children.

I will never forget that day. The small act of giving new shoes to warm their feet made all the difference. That is what Thanksgiving is all about - being thankful for what you have and giving to those who are without. This year, our youth group will again travel to Mexico, this time for Christmas. I cannot wait to help another family and give my all to brighten one day for them.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback