Giving old shoes a new life

Yeah you’re probably hoping this post is about being able to run another 500 miles on your old,worn out, compressed shoes. Hmmm….sorry I can not tell a lie. But, I can say that your old shoes can be given a run at a new life with a person who doesn’t have shoes to begin with. For many years we have asked for your old shoes which we then donated locally.

Well, in the last couple of years we have been shipping them to central Mexico to a town called Casas Grandes. This is a special place for Guy and I and the rest of the Perry family. In 1999, we adopted our newborn son, Jansen, from Mexico. Jansen’s birth family is from this small town. Last summer, the summer of 2008, we took a trip as a family to this town. We knew going into it that this would not be a touristy town in any way. Yet, we were excited to connect with the people who lived there, take life at a much slower pace and help where we could.
We were lucky enough to be put in contact with the Ed and Gayle Whetten before we arrived to set up doing some volunteer time at a school for the handicap that they started and now run. During our 10 day stay, the reality of what poverty does to people was painfully unavoidable. It was heartbraking to watch good people not be able to get the help they need. Although, on the other hand, it was equally inspiring to watch people like Ed and Gayle put their whole souls into lifting these people out of desperate times. The Whetton’s have not only spent years helping the handicap children go to school, but have also been running a medical clinic that gives much needed medical help to all kinds of people in need. Completely unbelievable and humbling to watch how the Whetten’s spend their lives only in the service of others.

So, after that experience, which really did change all of the Perry’s on one level or another. We committed to trying to do our part as we now feel even more emotionally connected to this
small town that gave us our son. The Whetton’s said that any shoes we could send would be a blessing so we promptly started sending them to Casas Grandes. We had no idea how much good they would do. (Read one of Gayle’s emails below)
Now that the everyone at SLRC has become a part of this shoe resurrection legacy, we hope that more of you will too. Next time you drop in, bring us your old shoes. Any old shoes will do, not just running shoes. We promise to make sure that they live out the remainder of their days on the soles of someone who will really wear them out!
THE SMILES THAT OLD SHOES BRING — An email from Gayle Whetton

“our association was established in 1993 by a group of parents with handicapped children. The group has grown from five families meeting to have a little fun together to a school and medical clinic that has helped several thousand people over the years. Our school “La Gaviota” (it means seagull in Spanish) has an enrollment of over fifty children under the age of 18 and twenty seven young adults. The children attend in the mornings and the adults in the afternoon. We do not charge for our services and depend on donations and volunteers to make our program work. We have 5 paid employees (2 teachers, 2 teachers’ aids and a secretary) and a physical therapist that is paid a minimal amount to supervise group therapy sessions with the mothers and children. The children that attend our school are integrated into the regular school system whenever possible but many are with us for their entire lives.

We have a medical clinic that provides dental, orthopedic, plastic surgery, dermatology, opthalmology and audiology services to persons that are financially or medically challenged as well as the families that belong to the association. The donated shoes have been an ongoing source of help for our people. First, everyone that attends the school (parents and children) have good shoes, then the shoes are sold to high school and college students mostly, for a very reasonable price. The money generated is used to pay electric and heating costs for the Center, gasoline for the vans, and has helped with two special projects this year.Our school hosted the regional Special Olympics this last summer that included feeding and housing the 10 participating schools. Money from the sale of the shoes helped cover some of the costs.

The second project was a plastic surgery clinic…our first in our newly registered operating room. Funds from the shoe sales helped buy the medical supplies necessary for the surgeries. One of the special patients was a little three-year old girl that had been badly burned. We also corrected 3 cleft lips and a deformed nose. We are attaching 2 photos of the little girl and a picture of one of the babies that had corrective surgery.
The distribution and sale of the shoes is an incredible resource for us. The parents are able to get involved cleaning and selling the shoes (it
makes them feel that they are contributing towards their child’s education and services).

The funds help cover our operating expenses as well as special needs…such as supplies for the operating room. We cannot adequately express what a blessing it has been to wonder how we are going to pay for something and find a case (or 4) of
shoes waiting for us in El Paso.

You can also see more about us on our blog at:
laborofloveinmexico.blogspot.com It is a little out of date but it gives a good history of things that we are doing.

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