Monday, June 22, 2015

Here We Go!

Since I put out the post that we were once again going, I have received a ton of positive support. Thank you! Those kind words continue to validate that we are doing something that needs to be done, and filling a void that would otherwise be left empty. Thank you for helping us achieve this. It really take a community to get this job done.

Shoes and suitcases are already starting to roll in. Thank you! With such a short time to prep for this trip I really didn't know what to expect. But you, the folks that read this, jump right in.

Here is where we are at so far.
 
 
 



 

Share your shoes, share your love, share your world. 

 
Total shoe count: 9 (0m, 9w)
For those keeping track, our current total sock need is as follows:
0 pairs of men's socks, 0 pairs received
18 pairs of women's socks, 0 pairs received
If you'd like to donate to Soleful Suitcases and our upcoming trip in July 2015, there are several ways to help. You can donate your in-good-shape, still life left, adult athletic shoes. You can donate brand new adult socks. School supplies are always welcome. Shop on Amazon via the link on the right hand size so we get credit to help pay for baggage fees.www.facebook.com/solefulsuitcases  twitter @RunningWithHart
Melissa Hart  119 N. Parker St. #143 Olathe, KS 66061

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Clean Out Your Closets!

BREAKING NEWS!!!

The Harts are headed back to Jamaica!

Wait, you thought I was going to tell you something else? Yeah right.

We really are headed back. We were going to try and go this Fall, but the timing with work and school schedules was off, and rather than wait any longer, I just booked the trip. For five weeks from now.

Yep, just five weeks. So, I need you to clean out your closets, like now. And hit up the Big Box store for some school supplies. Oh, and can you find a couple extra suitcases too? I'm gonna need some of those as well.

This is the shortest amount of time we've given ourselves to get ready for a trip, but I'm confident that it'll work out. I've got some faith that we can pull it off, and I know that you'll help!


What I'm looking for
-adult athletic shoes that still have life left in them
-brand new adult socks, ankle length
-brand new school supplies
-suitcases with enough life in them to hold 50 pounds on a one-way trip to Jamaica
-a couple of willing fools who don't mind getting up early to help at the airport in KC
-lots of good thoughts

Help me make this trip happen!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Trip Report 2014

Today is #GivingTuesday. What better way to give that to fill all of you in on our big give to Jamaica. It was big alright. Epic maybe.

Trevor packing the suitcases.




Kellee Cook and her mom, Konnee, helped with our luggage. They met us at the airport at 4:30AM! Checking the bags would have been a much harder task without them.



Our flights went just fine. We landed, gathered our 10 checked bags, 4 carry-ons, 2 kids, and made it to the customs line to leave the airport. When the agent saw our 10 bags she started asking questions as to why we had so many checked bags. We told her we were giving things away, and she sent us on to another line to be further screened.
Once in the new line, we waited. And waited and waited and waited. We were then asked to open, inspect, and close our luggage. Put them back on the cart, go here, do that all over, and go back there. It was just.not.fun. The boys were tired, thirsty, hungry, and ready to be done. Trevor and I were ready to be done. And then customs asked us to pay a tax for all the 'gifts' we were bringing into the country. You see, you can bring in 5 like items, but once you reach 6, it is considered 'for resale', and you must pay a tax. (Never mind all the locals I saw bringing in backpacks full of cheap jewelry to be resold in tourist shops...) We went round and round, and it was decided that we must pay a 'reduced tax' of $210. Sigh. Just one more thing. Trevor and I were ready to be done and just leave everything there at the airport. We'd already paid to purchase a lot of the school supplies, spent hours sorting, packing, and getting it there. And then to get slapped with a tax when the people of Jamaica could so use these goods we were bringing. While waiting to surrender our luggage, I started talking to a man from the States who was living and working in Jamaica. He was also running into some trouble with the same customs agents who were working with us. He finally gave up on his. When I told him about ours, he didn't hesitate, and offered to pay our tax in full right then and there. He was appalled that we were being given so much trouble from a country in such need. It really was a great moment for us. Thank you Everett.



Thank you so much. After finally clearing customs
and getting our luggage loaded into
the waiting car, we were off!


Tuesday afternoon I started to unpack our 7 extra suitcases. We'd crammed in 91 pairs of adult athletic shoes, 1 pair of soccer cleats, 182 pairs of brand new socks, and about 150 pounds of school supplies. I started with the shoes. I lined the walls in our hotel room with pairs of shoes, and covered the bed with socks. Each person would receive 2 pairs of brand new shoes to go along with their new-to-them shoes.



Word spread quickly throughout the resort, and a couple of times I think we had over 25 people in our room, trying on shoes and getting socks.

It was a wonderful site. 91 people were able to walk away from our room that afternoon with a new pep in their step. Literally. I love that we impacted 91 lives that day. Immediately. And in such a positive way.


















It was also really cool to see shoes from trips past still being worn and used. Still making an impact.


Pair 92 went to Omercye. He is in charge of fitness at the resort and makes a living out of wearing athletic shoes. I wanted to make sure he had a sold pair, so my parents purchased him a brand new pair.

Pair 93 went to Yanique, the woman in charge of the kid's programs. She wasn't able to make it to our room when all the shoes were being given away. I always bring down a pair of shoes for myself to run in while I'm there, so the night before we left I gave her my shoes, which fit perfectly. Yanique, like most of employees of the resort, spends her days on her feet. I was happy to pass them along to her.

Ryan received a pair of soccer cleats. They were too small for him, but he was going to pass them along to his brother. He informed us that these were really sweet cleats, a big deal.








Wednesday we headed to Brown's Town Infant School. When we pulled up to the school, the children were washing their hands before lunch at the sinks outside the school. Their water is on a well. While there, we heard the children talking about how the well had run dry for the day, and only half the kids were able to wash their hands. Sadly, this is common at schools all over the island. There are efforts to raise money to purchase water tanks for the schools to prevent this from happening. Tanks run about $500US. Perhaps this would be a goal for another trip...




While at the school we were able to give them about 150 pounds of basic school supplies like crayons, pencils and pen, glue sticks, colored pencils, scissors, bulletin board decorations, books, and hair bows. Lots and lots of hair bows. My friend Lisa makes hair bows and dropped off a large box. The little girls were so excited!


We toured the school, checking out each classroom, the library, and computer lab. Each classroom has 30 kids and they are crammed into a pretty tight room. The teacher is in charge of feeding each child breakfast and lunch, teaching, and recess duty. No prep time.





The children are given computer lab time. It is a small lab with pretty old computers, but they do the best they can with what they have.







The library is nice, open, and full of light. There are two sides to the library. The central government provides books on loan to the school to use, and they are kept on one side of the library. Teachers use these books, and children can look at them while they are in the library. These books must remain at school. The other, smaller side, are the books owned by the school. These books are also used by teacher and students, and students can check these books out and take them home over night for more reading opportunity. The books we provided the school with will stay in the school side, and increase the school's own library.









The children saying thank you!




Trevor and I would like to thank all of you for your support. It means so much to us. From the giving of your shoes, new socks and school supplies, to your time; it all adds up. Your support reinforces that I'm not crazy to take this on each trip. But mostly, it means the world to those on the receiving end. Your shoes impact lives, in a big way. Your school supplies impact entire schools. Thank you for all that you do to help us make these trips happen.

Share your shoes, share your love, share your world. 


















Monday, November 10, 2014

Packing - Day 1

I've been a bit laxed about posting on the blog, but have no fear, it doesn't mean the trip planning has slacked. I have been collecting from generous people all over, willing to give their shoes, new socks, school supplies, suitcases, clothing, and well wishes. It has been an outpouring of love, and I am so thankful.

Tonight Trevor and I started to pack the suitcases that will make the one way journey soon to Jamaica. Four large suitcases are packed to the gills, bursting at the zippers with 88 pairs of shoes! 88! Talk about a win! And enough socks for all to receive 2 brand new pairs. This is beyond exciting. Our last trip was 65 pairs of shoes, which we thought was a great amount. 88 pairs of shoes just such a blessing.

The shoes all paired up

 Packing the suitcases. 25 pairs of shoes fit in this one.





Tomorrow we will work on packing the suitcases that will hold school supplies. We will get at least 3 suitcases packed with those as I know we have enough checked baggage space for those.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Jazzercise Thank Yous!

So about a month ago I put out a post on facebook tagging my friends from Jazzercise in Olathe West and Lenexa (both in Kansas). I asked them to clean out their closets of old athletic shoes, and use it as an excuse to go get new shoes. And needless to say, both centers have delivered. I've posted thank yous from different ladies over at Lenexa. But wow, did Olathe West show up to the party!

This is what 47 pairs of athletic shoes look like. They fill 3 huge trash bags, and take up my entire back area in the minivan. And they are amazing!



Share your shoes, share your love, share your world. 


Total shoe count: 93 (5m, 88w)
For those keeping track, our current total sock need is as follows:
10 pairs of men's socks, 0 pairs received
176 pairs of women's socks, 6 pairs received


If you'd like to donate to Soleful Suitcases and our upcoming trip in November 2014, there are several ways to help. You can donate your in-good-shape, still life left, adult athletic shoes. You can donate brand new adult socks. School supplies are always welcome. Shop on Amazon via the link on the right hand size so we get credit to help pay for baggage fees.
Visit our GoFundMe page - 
http://www.gofundme.com/afj10shttp://www.gofundme.com/afj10s
Visit our SignUpGenius page www.SignUpGenius.com/go/20F0A4DA9A622A64-soleful 
www.facebook.com/solefulsuitcases  twitter @RunningWithHart
Melissa Hart  119 N. Parker St. #143 Olathe, KS 66061

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Pile of Thank Yous!

I love writing these posts. You know, the ones where I get to thank oddles of people for their generous selves and thoughtful giving. They are some of the best kinds of posts to write.


Thank you Carla for the 3 pairs of ladies shoes. Carla and I Jazzercise together. We have a good time, although I'm still trying to get her to really get down and crazy with the music.


Thank you Haley. She and I are in MOMS Club together. On each of our trips Haley has given supplies or shoes.

Thank you Lindi for these shoes!

Thank you Lisa for the hair bows and head bands. Lisa owns her own business called LiliBug Boutique. She creates amazing hair bows and head bands, barrettes and bow ties, and so much more. Be sure to check her out! I'm going to hand these out at school, and that will be so much fun!

Thank you Lissa and Chris McGivern. We now have 2 pairs of men's shoes!!

Thank you Monika and Lindi. Both of them are friends from MOMS. There are 3 pairs of men's and 3 pairs of lady shoes there.



Share your shoes, share your love, share your world. 


Total shoe count: 36 (5m, 31w)
For those keeping track, our current total sock need is as follows:
10 pairs of men's socks, 0 pairs received
62 pairs of women's socks, 6 pairs received


If you'd like to donate to Soleful Suitcases and our upcoming trip in November 2014, there are several ways to help. You can donate your in-good-shape, still life left, adult athletic shoes. You can donate brand new adult socks. School supplies are always welcome. Shop on Amazon via the link on the right hand size so we get credit to help pay for baggage fees.
Visit our GoFundMe page - 
http://www.gofundme.com/afj10shttp://www.gofundme.com/afj10s
Visit our SignUpGenius page www.SignUpGenius.com/go/20F0A4DA9A622A64-soleful 
www.facebook.com/solefulsuitcases  twitter @RunningWithHart
Melissa Hart  119 N. Parker St. #143 Olathe, KS 66061

Monday, September 8, 2014

Lots Of Shoes To Be Thankful For!

Yahoo! Today is a great day. I received several pairs of shoes in the past couple days, and am excited to share all of them with you.


Juli Belk and I have Jazzercised at the Lenexa Jazzercise Center for the past year. I'm thankful Juli gave three pairs of ladie's shoes. Thanks Juli!
 Amy Medina and I have run together in the KC Express group for the past 2.5 years. Thanks Amy for the ladie's shoes, and bag of other goodies.


Mary Patterson and I have Jazzercised at the Lenexa Center for a year. Her kids and mine often play in the kids room while we get our dance on! Thanks Mary for these shoes!
 Debbie Metzler and I Jazzercise in Lenexa together. Thanks again Debbie for the shoes!


Maria Turvey and I are in MOMS Club together, our kids go to the same school, and I'm always trying to get her to run a half marathon with me. Thanks Maria for the shoes!


Share your shoes, share your love, share your world. 


Total shoe count: 12 (0m, 24w)
For those keeping track, our current total sock need is as follows:
0 pairs of men's socks, 0 pairs received
48 pairs of women's socks, 0 pairs received


If you'd like to donate to Soleful Suitcases and our upcoming trip in November 2014, there are several ways to help. You can donate your in-good-shape, still life left, adult athletic shoes. You can donate brand new adult socks. School supplies are always welcome. Shop on Amazon via the link on the right hand size so we get credit to help pay for baggage fees.
Visit our GoFundMe page - 
http://www.gofundme.com/afj10shttp://www.gofundme.com/afj10s
Visit our SignUpGenius page www.SignUpGenius.com/go/20F0A4DA9A622A64-soleful 
www.facebook.com/solefulsuitcases  twitter @RunningWithHart
Melissa Hart  119 N. Parker St. #143 Olathe, KS 66061