Feb. 11, 2020
Pflugerville ISD students streamed into the Dessau Elementary cafeteria after school Wednesday, the stage lined with boxes of shoes of various sizes. Inside, Aramark food services and nonprofit Samaritan’s Feet officials worked together in an outreach effort to provide new shoes to 150 students.
Arriving with his three quiet, unassuming children, a parent opened his eyes to the scene, and smiled from ear to ear. Looking around, he strode to the nearest official he could find and provided his heartfelt thanks for their work, as an Aramark employee tied up the laces to a shoe for his youngest child.
“That’s what this all about,” said Mythiquer Pickett, regional director for Samaritan’s Feet, “letting the next generation know that we believe in them and we care enough to be out here for them.”
Students in need from Copperfield, Delco, Dessau, Northwest and Parmer Lane elementary campuses participated in the Samaritan’s Feet project, which included the washing of children’s feet, fittings and the donations of new socks and shoes.
“We’re very fortunate that Aramark has partnered with Samaritan’s Feet and partnering with the district to offer the pairs of shoes,” said Geoff Holle, Aramark/PfISD food service director. “This is just another way we work and partner with external resources and the district to provide solutions to the challenges our students face.”
Pickett noted Samaritan’s Feet has distributed shoes to 7 million children in 108 countries and more than 400 cities across the United States since its inception by Nigerian native Manny Ohonme in 2003. More than 86,000 volunteers, like those with Aramark on Wednesday, have gotten involved along the way, he added.
“I know that impact,” said Pickett, adding how a childhood of poverty led him to volunteer and then work for Samaritan’s Feet. “For me, it’s really personal because I was one of those kids.”
Aramark Marketing Manager Shelby Kelly added the stop comes at a time – after the holidays and before many receive tax returns – when funds may be particularly scarce.
“I love the timing of this event,” Kelly said, “because we still have several months with these kids, in which they might need a new pair of shoes.”