We wanted the Open Heart mission to be the recipient of the adult shoes that we had as both Robert and Shirley, the main administrator at the Care Centre, told us that those that they help are in desperate need of shoes and that people coming to the Care Centre always ask whether the centre has had any shoes donated. A large percentage of their intake is men so in particular they needed men’s shoes. And so the shoes that were so kindly donated were just what was needed down in Montego Bay last Saturday.
We arrived just before their lunch serving and were given a tour of the facility by Shirley, and met both the amazing chef and security guard who keep everything in order at the centre. And then we met those being helped at the centre, mainly men, both young and old, who rely on the services provided by the Care Centre, on a daily basis. After lunch Kamal, the security guard brought folks into the office one by one to pick out a pair of shoes. It was somewhat ironic how so many of us queue up for the latest sneaker releases and here we had homeless individuals forming a line for some shoes that may have been queued up for before. But here there wasn’t that desire for exclusivity, instead there was a want to have what other, ‘regular’ people have, a decent pair of shoes.
Also noticeable was how tight people would tie the laces of the shoes. Why? Because these individuals are homeless and tie their laces tight just in case whilst they are asleep on the streets someone should try and rob them for their ‘new’ shoes. That is the reality for these men and women.