Walking into the classroom with style

SHOE DRIVE – Students returned to the classroom with new shoes courtesy of Talitha Cumi – THE PLATFORM’s annual Shoe Drive. More than 100 students benefitted from the initiative. (Photo courtesy of Talitha Cumi – THE PLATFORM)

Each year for the last three years Talitha Cumi – THE PLATFORM has been instrumental in giving to the community during the back-to-school pressure. This program has been assisting families who have fallen on hard times or simply helping the children of our community by hosting a Back-to-School Shoe Drive. They are committed to the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Last year August – September, with the support of local partners, family and friends a total of 185 pairs of brand-new school shoes which represented the initiative, “From the Heart to the Sole” and 100 pillows to represent “Rest in the Lord” were distributed during a mini fair, where games, food, music and giveaways were enjoyed by residents throughout Grand Bahama. This year, however, The Talitha Cumi – THE PLATFORM coordinators were driven to take this initiative to the schools from West End to East End onto Sweeting’s Cay.

JarDanell Bowe founder and coordinator of this program called on the public school principals and guidance counselors from the outer constituencies to identify the children who would benefit from this shoe drive. Each school was asked to submit no more than 20 names to allow a fair opportunity for the participating schools. Each child identified would then receive a pair of brand -new school shoes.

Corporate sponsors such as Insurance Management, La Parilla Restaurant, Five Star Brokerage Company, Homeward Bound Couriers, DOVE 103.7 FM, Bullseye Car Rental and a host of individual sponsors who responded to a Whatsapp Broadcast request partnered with Talitha Cumi – THE PLATFORM and its volunteers providing a total of 168 (brand-new) pairs of shoes. These basic needs not only covered bare soles but also forms motivation and self-esteem for the children.

Having a first hand experience with families stricken by unemployment and victims of the passing of hurricanes, which to-date stll affects many households was very humbling for the coordinators and volunteers. As the Talitha Cumi – The Platform team took to the streets and the ferry over to Sweetings Cay, personally delivering the shoes to the schools, they had the opportunity to meet the kids receiving the shoes. They were embraced with many hugs, smiles and kisses, which were priceless. What an expression of gratitude they received.

The recipients were grateful and filled with heartwarming emotions. Students from West End Primary, Eight Mile Rock High, Martin Town Primary, Lewis Yard Primary, The Children’s Home, Reach Out Ministries, East End Primary, and Sweeting’s Cay were all recipients of this act of kindness.

“Many are called, but few are chosen. What a blessing to be chosen,” voiced Bowe. “We called on the community, corporate companies, friends and family members to support this Shoe Drive and what a resounding reply was heard from the eager sponsors. Together, the 168 pairs of shoes were purchase from our very own local shoe store Jon WES Shoe Store, who extends reduced prices for the shoe drive along with purchases from the U.S. “It has always been my thinking that as a village, we can take care of the needs of those who are hurting and require support,” said Bowe.

The residents of Grand Bahama were eager to step out of their own household summer routines and assist the families who expressed the need for help. The donations were selfless and genuine.

Bowe expressed that such great success could not be attainable without the supporters, volunteers, prayer warriors, friends, and family members.

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