Why This Mom Bought 1,500 Shoes and Donated Them All

Her compassionate daughter wanted to buy a pair of shoes for her classmate whose shoes were too small.

Aug 21, 2019

For Carrie Jernigan, what started out as a routine trip to the mall in May 2019 to buy her kids shoes, turned into a way to do something very good for her community.

A store closing isn't usually thought of as good news. But in the case of the Payless shoe store that was closing in Alma, Arkansas there is a silver lining.   

While shopping at the shoe store, Jernigan's daughter asked her mother if they could buy an extra pair of Avengers-themed shoes for a classmate whose shoes were too small according to KFSM 5 News.

"She has the biggest heart, and she said, 'There is a boy in my class that loves avengers, and his shoes are too small, could you buy him these?' and I was like 'of course,'" Jernigan said.

When they got to the cash register, Jernigan asked the cashier, "how much for the rest of the shoes in the store?" She thought there were around 200-300 pairs left. So, the cashier took her number and said that she would find out.

Later that day, Jernigan received a call from the district manager telling her the cost of buying out the rest of the store. She wasn't aware that while she was shopping with her family, the store had received a new shipment of shoes making the total 1,500 pairs. She jumped at it.

"The next thing you know we are trying to figure out how to get almost 1,500 shoes home with us that day," Jernigan said, but they managed. Now, since May, the Jernigan family has been giving the shoes away to needy people in the community.

"If you ask them [her children] what they want to be when they grow up, they say be kind, and so I don't care what they do in life as long as they are kind and good people," Jernigan said.

"And so, it just reiterates to me that their hearts are in the right place and if it's in the right place they can do amazing things," said the very proud mom.

The family received so many requests for shoes that they decided to throw a back to school bash on August 10, 2019, at the Alma Middle School gym. The Jernigans partnered with the Kibler Baptist church that gave out school supplies at the bash.

Now the kids in Alma are well equipped for school, and it was all thanks to one compassionate girl who unselfishly thought about her classmate and the girl's mom who made it all happen. This was a real silver lining.

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Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.