If for just one day we could truly walk in someone else’s shoes, walk their personal path, our understanding for that person and their struggles would increase and our compassion would grow.
Last Saturday, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of San Mateo County (SVdP) held its first local walk for the poor, “Walk a Mile in My Shoes.” The purpose of which was to raise awareness and funds for the underserved and forgotten in our community – to uphold our neighbors in need.
The community was excited to help SVdP launch this fun and important event right here in our county where SVdP volunteers serve 36,000 individuals, almost half of whom are children and there was wonderful support from local sponsors and about 100 walkers.
On a magnificent day along the Bay Trail in Burlingame, all ages and abilities delighted in a joyful two mile jaunt, while helping our neighbors in need. As Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world” and so they went with compassion in their step.
All who participated showed compassion for a father like, “Chuck” living here in our community who was suddenly out of work. Chuck’s wife and two children are dependent on his income. How would he keep his family fed and pay his bills? He called SVdP’s Helpline. After a caring visit from volunteers, healthy groceries were delivered and with need verified, a rent payment was made to his landlord. Chuck thanked them for helping his family during his crisis.
Paraphrasing Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, one never really understands a person until you consider things from their point of view, until you climb into his shoes.
Shoes – we love them, but they are personal – they fit our feet just right, our soles alone. It is uncomfortable and a bit uneasy if you have to borrow or wear someone else’s shoes. Shoes mold to the shape of our foot, wear the way we walk, and become a part of us. SVdP and our supporters are blessed to walk with those on the margin, and “wear” their shoes. To feel what it is like to be in their place – so that souls can come together, offer care and hope and be truly healed.