“Acts of kindness create a ripple effect of pure joy!”
When Carrie Jernigan’s 9-year-old daughter asked if they could buy a pair of sneakers for her friend in need, the mom of three followed her heart and bought shoes for the boy—and hundreds of other kids too!
Carrie Jernigan was taking advantage of her Alma, Arkansas, Payless Shoesource’s “going out of business” sale when her 9-year-old daughter, Harper, asked if they could buy a pair of sneakers for a boy in her class too. “His are falling apart,” she explained. “I don’t think his folks can afford new ones.”
Carrie’s heart squeezed—for the boy and her daughter’s compassion. “Of course,” she smiled. Only problem was, she didn’t know his size. “Hmm. Maybe I should just buy all the shoes in the store,” Carrie quipped.
She was just joking. But, suddenly, the 37-year-old mom of three felt a powerful stirring in her heart. She was blessed. She and her husband had good jobs and could provide for their children. But she knew many families in town were struggling. And she was always stressing the importance of being kind and openhearted to her kids.
What if I did buy all the shoes and donated them to people in need? Carrie pondered.
Stunned and touched by the idea, the Payless district manager worked out a deal. And soon, Carrie’s den was crammed with 1,500 boxes of shoes.
After separating out adult shoes, which she donated through her job and church, Carrie posted her plan to hold a giveaway for all of the kids shoes on Facebook.
Right away, the Alma Middle School principal suggested she hold the giveaway there. And dozens of other people volunteered to help out. Amazed, she also received offers to donate socks, backpacks, school supplies and cash to buy even more footwear for the kids.
By the day of the event, all the merchandise filled two gyms and the school cafeteria!
Excited cries echoed as more than 2,000 kids slipped on lightup sneakers and glitter ballerina flats, while parents filled backpacks with everything their children needed. Even area dentists, doctors and hairstylists were on hand, offering free services.
“You can’t imagine what a difference this makes,” parent after parent said, offering Carrie a grateful hug and thank you.
“It feels so good to have helped so many people,” Carrie says. ”But if it inspires others to do one little thing for someone else…that’s what will really matter. Because just one little kindness can make a big difference in someone’s life.”
got More than 2,000 kids free shoes and supplies Kids picked out shoes in favorite colors and styles
“It feels great to have helped so many,” says Carrie (left) with daughter Harper (right)