Woodward, Okla. —
LITTLE THINGS CAN HAVE BIG MEANING FOR A CHILD WITH NOTHING
Sherman said that while many of us may take things like a new pair of shoes or birthday celebration for granted, often the children who come to the Western Plains shelter have not ever had those things.
She told the story of one 10-year-old boy in the shelter recently, "who was in desperate need of shoes."
"We took him shoe shopping and I asked him if he had any idea what size shoe he wore. He said he thought maybe size 8. It turned out that 8 was his size 3 years ago. So he tried on this one pair of shoes that was way too big for him. But he said, 'no, it's okay, I'll grow into them,'" Sherman said.
Although impressed by his willingness to make do, she told the boy that they would keep looking until they found a pair that fit him perfectly.
"He was so excited and said he had never had a new pair of shoes before," she said. "Then when he was packing up to leave, after he had been with us for about 4 weeks, he still had the Stage bag that the shoes had been put in as well as the actual shoebox and even the tissue paper that the shoes had been wrapped in, because having those new shoes were so important to him."
Sherman said that "shoes are always a big thing for us."
Another major item for the shelter is luggage, she said.
"Many of our kids will come in with what little belongings they have in a trash bag," she said. "But at Western Plains it is our goal that we don't ever let them leave with their things in a trash bag. We provide them with some piece of luggage or duffel bag of their own."