An Arkansas mother set a very high standard in kindness by buying up all the shoes from a store to donate to all the needy children before the school begins.
Carrie Jerniga, a mother-of-three bought nearly 1,500 pairs of shoes from a closing Payless Shoe Source store and said that her receipts showed she had saved about $21,000, even though she paid a fraction of it. “I’m in the schools a lot and where I live we have a very high poverty rate,” Jernigan, the president of the Alma School Board, said.
Alma lies in between Fayetteville and Fort Smith. “My immediate thought was, this could put so many shoes on kids that would not have new shoes to start back to school,” she added. She took the decision to buy all the shoes after Jernigan’s oldest daughter wanted a pair of Avenger shoes for her classmate during a shopping trip in May which was to buy shoes only for Jernigan’s children, she said.
Jernigan said to the clerk while checking out, “I jokingly said to the clerk, ‘How much would it cost to buy the rest of the shoes in here?’ Next thing I know a regional manager is on the phone asking me if I seriously want the whole store,” she wrote on her Facebook page.
She adds that she was thinking, what have I done, and says that her husband was “going to kill” her for buying such a big purchase. “We ended up making a deal for the shoes left which was approximately 400 pairs of shoes,” she wrote.
First, let me say this response has been amazing. What I learned is that lots of towns, churches and…
Jernigan went back to the store the next day to put all the shoes in boxes and that’s when a new delivery had come in with hundreds of more shoes. She wrote her children “immediately” said they had to buy them as well, and after opening a few boxes in the back of the store and in the loading dock, they were all kid’s shoes.
“Champions, JoJos and every different type of princess and light up shoes you can think of.” She wrote, “12 hours, 95 big boxes, a huge trailer and approximately 1500 pairs of shoes later these 3 excited kids got to buy out the store.” Jernigan said that they wanted to give the shoes away to the children before school started.
She added saying that the ‘response has been amazing” as local businesses, churches and residents wanted to organizer a Back to School event where shoes, backpacks, school supplies and more would be handed over to students and families in the River Valley, in the western part of Arkansas on August 10.
Jernigan again shared on Facebook post, “I have received probably 200 messages from just local moms and dads telling me they are coming to get shoes and will get there as early as they can to [sic] make sure they get a pair.” She added, “So many in our community are desperate for new shoes to send their little ones back to school in. If you could see the messages it would break your heart.”
Jernigan received an anonymous donation of $1,000 from a man who said, “just spend it on those kids!” She was able to buy another 250 pairs of shoes and socks because of that generosity to give away next month, She has received an additional $3,000 to cover costs for more shoes for the Back to School event. “Be praying for this event to reach so many in need in our area,” Jernigan said.
What started with an act of kindness by one woman has spread like wildfire in Arkansas and beyond, this story shows that this world still has kind people in it.