Donations add up to lots of new shoes |

Donations add up to lots of new shoes

by Sheila Gardner
Shannon Litz / Tribune News ServiceDouglas County Social Services Manager Karen Goode with Jen Dillwith, 5-year-old Max and 10-year-old Ella and the Payless Shoesource gift cards.

GARDNERVILLE, Nev. – Jen Dillwith and her kids Ella, 10 and Max, 6, had just a few more steps to complete before declaring My SOLE Purpose a success.

Last week, the Dillwiths delivered 200 $20 PayLess Shoesource gift cards to Karen Goode, manager of Douglas County Social Services.

In five weeks, Dillwith conceived of the project, organized a 4-mile community walk, and collected twice her original goal of 100 cards for Douglas County’s needy school children.

“Because of so many wonderful people and generous donations, 200 kids in Douglas County will start school this fall in a new pair of shoes,” Dillwith said at the end of the June 26 walk.

More than 45 people joined her on the walk through Minden and Gardnerville. Clad in donated neon green T-shirts, participants were treated to free water from Raley’s and breakfast sandwiches and beverages from Starbucks.

Donations ranged from single gift cards from as far away as Ohio and Hawaii to the staff and seniors at Douglas County Senior Services who collected $265 for shoes.

“It was like Christmas every day at the mailbox. There would be another card or a check made out to PayLess Shoes,” she said.

Goode said she was overwhelmed with the response.

“It’s awesome to see grassroots support like this. Mrs. Dillwith saw a need for shoes and did something about it,” Goode said.

Goode said she was working with the Carson Valley Women’s 20-30 Club who take children back-to-school shopping.

“They’ll make sure each child has a shoe card. That’s going to make money for clothes shopping go that much farther,” Goode said.

“Every child on our caseload gets new shoes this year for school,” Goode said. “She (Dillwith) just went for it and got the cards to us in time for the kids to get shoes for school.”

Dillwith told participants to save their T-shirts for next year.

“People always say a moment doesn’t last forever, but I believe it does. If you choose to do good and right for just one moment you could be the change in someone else’s life that lasts forever.”

She came up with My SOLE Purpose when she was at Payless and watched a mother buy a pair of shoes for her oldest child and put the old shoes on a younger child.

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