A Letter from Kathleen: Impact of KEEN Shoe Donation to Convent and Orphanage in San Andreas, Guatemala

Dear David:

I just wanted to give you a little more follow-up on what your donation of shoes last year has meant to the people of San Andreas, Guatemala. We were speaking to some of the nuns last week in preparation for our trip this summer. One of the first things they always mention is that they love their shoes. They wear them every day and are the most comfortable shoes they have ever had. They wanted us to tell you that they are very grateful for your donation. It has made a big difference in their lives.

Guatemala shoe donation - Nuns on the wall
Nuns on the wall

We also would have people that would come to the convent because they heard that we had shoes. We had one day that we got back from building a stove and there was a women and her 3 children asking if we had shoes. We went into a corner room (that opened into the courtyard) to get the shoes organized in sizes. It took us about 5 minutes. When I opened the door back up, there was a line of people there for shoes. We would bring the children in 2 at a time and put them on the bed. Sizing was difficult because we had to guess what size of shoe to try. The shoes they had on were nowhere near the correct size. I would put a shoe on a child and know that it was not quite the right size. I would go to take it off and they would get scared because they thought that if I took the shoe off, it meant they wouldn’t get any shoes. One of the boys that ended up with a pair of the bright orange KEEN’s was overjoyed. He came back the next day and hugged everyone and said thank you.

Guatamala shoe donation - Kids at the school
Kids at the school

We also took some shoes to the disable children’s orphanage. The people that worked there were very excited for the types of shoes that you sent. The KEENs are not shoes that need to be tied so some of the children will be able to put them on themselves. This was a really big deal for them. One little boy put on his shoes by himself while we were there and was so happy.

Guatemala shoe donation - School kids with Bob
School kids with Bob

The day before we left there were 3 pair of shoes left. One pair was some Waimea leather sandals and the two other pair were some Newport’s. There were 3 young boys that came in and asked if we had any shoes. I had only remembered that we had two pair of Newport’s left. It had been the ongoing joke all trip that I had said if those Waimea leather sandals were left at the end of the trip, I knew of a good home for them. So we fitted two of the boys with shoes and only had the Waimea sandals left. I didn’t know if he would be okay with wearing a women’s sandal but he was really happy. He didn’t care in the least.

Guatemala shoe donation - - School Carnival1
Girls at the school carnival

Every pair of shoes that you sent went to a truly needy person. I know that when we go this summer, we will see the nuns and children wearing your shoes. We were at planning meeting last evening and the subject of your shoes came up. Someone commented about the generosity of the people at Keen was pretty amazing. I would agree. I don’t think you could have bought better advertising.

I just wanted to tell you thanks again for all your generosity. I am sure you get many requests each year for shoe donations. I just wanted to tell you how much this one was appreciated and the difference it made.


Clinical Pharmacist
Saint Luke’s Hospital