It was a warm, sunny Thursday afternoon in August, but it may as well have been Christmas day for about a dozen of youngsters in London, Kentucky, who received a brand-new pair of shoes through our partner there, Come-Unity Cooperative Care, with funding from Americans Helping Americans®’ Barefeet program.

The children, aged from about 3 to 8, seemed almost stunned when they came in with their moms and dads to the locally-owned shoe store and were told they could pick out any pair of shoes they wanted. This posed quite a dilemma for several of them – which to select from an entire wall of Nikes or Adidas, quality shoes that should last the entire school year.

While most ended up choosing the most colorful, coolest sneakers, one young boy selected a pair of sturdy work boots, perhaps similar to what his father might wear on the job, seemingly in the knowledge that they’ll keep his feet warm in the cold winter months.

While some could not wait to wear their new shoes out of the store, others kept theirs in the shoe box, apparently saving them for that very special first day of school.

During the several minutes it took to have the shoes selected, fitted and proper size in hand, the expression on faces of the children, to a one, transformed from shock and disbelief to that of what can only be described as “sheer joy.”

When it was all said and done, each of the children and their parents made a point of saying “thank you” to the representatives from Come-Unity Cooperative Care and Americans Helping Americans®.

Today, we pass their sincere gratitude on to you, our generous donors, as it is you who made that day possible, a day those children will likely not forget for years to come. And when that time comes when they do outgrow those shoes, they will become hand-me-downs that their younger siblings will eager to receive.