Within minutes, women eagerly formed a long line inside Samaritan House 48th in Denver where a group of volunteers unveiled a Christmas surprise for them—brand new shoes.
“Welcome to the shoe store,” exclaimed Terry Peltes, a Catholic Charities donor and volunteer, to the shelter participants. “We’re so glad you’re here.”
Terry and three of his co-workers and friends stopped at local department stores and purchased hundreds of shoes—bright yellow tennis shoes, tan foots with fur trimming, black-laced leather boots, and a variety of styles of each size. The week before Christmas, a truck dropped their donated shoes off at Samaritan House where the volunteers arranged the shoes and prepared to give them to participants. This was one of several visits the volunteers made to Catholic Charities’ shelter locations in Denver to deliver the much-needed shoes.
As some women sat in a row of chairs inside Samaritan House, one volunteer measured their shoe size while another went to select possible shoe options. Then each person tried on tennis shoes or boots until they found the best fit.
Participants like Michon were moved to tears when she found her pair of white tennis shoes. She has wanted for some time white, comfortable shoes for walking.
“I’m so grateful,” she shared. “This is so generous of them.”
However, their donation was not about the shoes themselves, Terry told his friends before they began to distribute the shoes. For them, it was about showing those experiencing homelessness that they are valued and have worth.
Terry declared that truthfully, “we’re really here to show them how much we care.”