Vernon woman helps impoverished Romanian children with shoes that actually fit

Big smiles for proper shoes

Wearing a pair of shoes that fit is kind of a given for most people in Canada.

In fact, most people have numerous pairs of properly fitting footwear, but for impoverished children in Romania, a single pair or proper shoes are a godsend.

Vernon's Jen Kirkland is on a long-term mission trip in Romania, one of the poorest countries in Europe, and she recently had the opportunity to provide children with shoes that actually fit.

Kirkland volunteers at a children's hospital, working with families trying to survive well below the poverty line.

The shoes she was working with were donated, but the impact they had on children was heartwarming.

“As I pulled off their old shoes, I noticed a lot of the time that the shoes didn't fit properly, or were very run-down, which made the moment of finding the perfect shoe - think Cinderella's slipper moment - that much sweeter,” she wrote from the former Soviet Block nation.

“I smile thinking about one boy's reaction when I slid the shoe on and his face just lit up and he said it was perfect. For us, we may have lots of shoes at home, but for a lot of these kids, they are usually just getting hand-me-downs from older siblings. So to get their own pair of shoes is very special.”

Kirkland spends every Tuesday, and the occasional Thursday, working with the Kids Clubbers, ages three to six.

“It helps both with language practice - slowly slowly getting there - and also to build a connection so I'll hopefully be able to watch these kids grow through our programs all the way until they finish high school. Seems a long way off but I've already been here two years so who knows,” she said.

Kirkland also helps teach English to Romanian teachers, which is one of the numerous tasks she performs.

Kirkland is paying for the long-term missions trip on her own and through donations. She receives no government funding of any sort.

She is working in Romania under the umbrella of Firm Foundations Romania.

To help Kirkland continue her work with children and teens, click here.

Tax receipts will be issued.

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