All year, distributing shoes has been tough because they are in such demand and because people are understandably concerned that they have good shoes that fit. Think about any time you’ve been to a shoe shop and the lengths we’ll go to for the right pair of shoes, especially parents of young children.
Until recently, we didn’t have enough good quality ones for everyone so it has been a great few days being able to give all 200 kids a pair of great trainers or winter shoes AND a pair of wellington boots. Thanks to some great donors, we were able to prepare a fantastic pop-up shoe shop and make some kids and their parents very happy.
A lot of preparation goes into the actual distribution to make sure it is both fair and dignified:
- We’ve been collecting information on individuals’ shoe size for some time. Knowing the size distribution ensures we aren’t short of the more common sizes
- The shoes were sorted into type and size in the warehouse and placed into crates so that everything was well-ordered and we could check for quality
- We built temporary display units for the shoes in the pop-up shop and carefully ordered the crates of shoes on them
- Surplus stock was kept out of sight but easily accessible behind a curtained off area
- We made the shop welcoming with carpets, decorations, toys and places for the kids to be entertained while the rest of the family shopped
- Parents with children were invited to the shoe shop based on a ticketing system so that people aren’t queueing and we only have one or two families in the shop at a time
- People were checked against our database of families on the site so we can make sure it is fair and everyone is covered
Once that is done it just needs some very smiley, very patient volunteers to help the parents and children select the shoes they would like but under 2 rigidly enforced conditions:
- no more than one pair of trainers or practical shoes and no more than one pair of wellies per child
- once they’ve tried it, chosen it and it’s left the shop there can be no exchanges
We have some amazing hard-working volunteers and ended up with a lot of very happy customers.