That Sammy Sole… he does what he can to promote the shoe charity, Soles4Souls. When we were on location for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Sammy went along. Stay tuned for details when we announce the air date!
Archive for December, 2009
This time of year, families spend hours getting just the right outfits, setting and props to take their holiday picture. The Clark family does none of that. We simply ask strangers to take our pictures in various locations and Whoola! we have our Christmas card. Since Allan and I are on the road full-time with the RV, promoting Soles4Souls, we seldom have a chance for our family to be together. We’ll get a picture of our older daughter Trina and our son-in-law Paul and PhotoShop them into our picture.
Yes, it’s true, Allan found himself involved with a strange female. It started out innocently enough. He was standing in Crystal River next to his kayak, telling our tour guide about Soles4Souls, the shoe charity we work with. Suddenly a huge manatee swam by Allan. Allan put on his mask and snorkel and slowly moved closer to the manatee. He gently touched her “furry” body. I guess that clinched the relationship. The manatee rolled over so Allan could rub her stomach. He obliged, then moved away. The manatee followed. He rubbed her again, then moved away. She followed. Do you see a pattern here? We all laughed as the manatee stayed close to Allan. He finally had to let her know he was married by getting back into the kayak, away from his adoring fan. I’ve heard of chick-magnets, but who knew there was such a thing as a manatee-magnet?
For those of you fighting the big snow storm, I’m sorry to tell you we’re basking in Florida sunshine. We came to Florida to help with a Soles4Souls shoe distribution and have a few days off. Taking advantage of the weather, we decided to swim with the manatees in Crystal River, Florida. The adventure began at MANATEE TOUR AND DIVE, one of two places in America where swimming with the manatee is legal. Crystal River is known all over America for divining and snorkeling in King Spring and Three Sister Spring. Since I’m now an expert on manatees, I can tell you we swam with the West Indian Manatee. Thank goodness we had Blain and Jessica as our guides. Allan, Sondra and I were paddling our kayaks, wondering when we’d see a manatee. Blain kept saying “There’s one on your left. Now he’s on the right. Sondra, you have a manatee under your kayak!” Pretty soon we caught on and saw just how close we were to these giant sea creatures. It was at that point I screamed as a mother and her calf were directly by my kayak. The excitement built as we actually got into the water to observe the manatees. What a unique experience to have a huge animal swim next to you, even brushing against your leg. This activity is suitable for even young kids. As I’ve said before, if you are in the Orlando, go to one theme park to get it out of your system. Then try some of the amazing outdoor activities available in this area…especially getting in the water with manatees! Check out www.manateetoursusa.com to make a reservation.
Most of us have spent a Sunday night getting all chocked up watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, as Ty Pennington yells “Move that bus!” I’ve had numerous men tell me “I admit I get teary eyed watching that show.” Well get ready to watch the show and see how Soles4Souls, as a shoe charity, plays a major role in a two-hour special. Allan and I got the privilege of being part of the show as they built a house in seven days…along with fixing up 15 more houses on the same street. We’ll keep you posted as to the exact air date. In the meantime, practice yelling with Ty, “Move that bus!”
Every parent thinks their children are wonderful, and I’m no exception. Our 20-year-old daughter Sondra is with us during her college break from Azusa Pacific College in California. Of course we immediately put her to work helping with a shoe distribution in Orlando. Sondra is no stranger to volunteering since she’s helped with volunteer projects in Kenya, Uganda, Peru and Guatemala. In fact, last year this time we were all in the middle of a Costa Rican jungle, helping at a remote nursing home run by nuns from Guatemala! Sondra was in charge of distributing Soles4Souls shoes to people in the surrounding jungle community. Yesterday, she helped the shoe charity again, by efficiently helping parents find just the right size shoe for their child. It was a great Christmas present to see her cheerfully serve other people while also organizing volunteers and re-stocking shoes. She played a small but important role in helping Soles4Souls distribute 6.4 million pairs of shoes in the US and overseas.
What happens when ten churches get together to help people in need? They create a mega event! That’s what happened yesterday when we helped with a shoe distribution in Orlando. Churches in the area had a well-run, super organized program where individuals in need could come and get a great meal, toys for their children as well as jeans and books. Then of course, they came to the Soles4Souls area where we had hundreds of free shoes available. You should have seen the smiles on little girls’ faces as they picked out a pair of Hannah Montana shoes! Our shoe charity, Soles4Souls, was able to provide families with baby shoes, school shoes and high quality athletic shoes. Of course children were excited about toys, but parents gave us genuine thanks for the shoes their children received. As Soles4Souls employees, we are glad to be able to help provide new shoes to people in need.
When people think of donating shoes to Soles4Souls, they usually think of sending a few pairs of shoes in a small box to our warehose. We love those donations! Check out these pictures of what happens when all those donations are accumulated. This 53 foot trailer is almost full with gently used shoes. All those shoes will be trucked to the main warehouse in Alabama and then distributed to people in need around the world. What a great way to recycle shoes!
What did you have for dinner last night? More than likely you had a simple meal with your family around the dining room table. That means you missed out on a special event! Chris Hope, a player for the Tennessee Titans, sponsored a charity event for Soles4Souls at a Nashville restaurant. Chris and some of his football team buddies helped chop, dice, sauté and toss a variety of food for 16 tables of fans. What a fun event that also raised money for Soles4Souls. Thanks Chris!
One of the advantages of working with Soles4Souls is the variety of experiences we get. No boring 9-5 job for us. One day we might meet with employees at Walmart, the next day we are collecting shoes at a dance recital, or representing Soles4Souls at a church. Last week we added to our repertoire of experiences by visiting Levy’s store in Nashville. Levy’s is a long standing Nashville tradition for more than five generations. The specialty store serves customers wanting superior quality and outstanding service. We certainly saw the service. One employee told us he worked for Levy’s the past 35 years so he certainly knew how to help customers buy exactly what they wanted. We appreciate Levy’s being a drop-off location for gently used shoes.