Small gesture, big impact helping flood victims

Small gesture, big impact

SAN ANTONIO -- Rolling by Eric Castillo's home is stopping many people in their tracks. His effort to help flood victims in Louisiana is taking over as the community continues to step up to help out.

Castillo said it's a small gesture he hopes will have a big impact.

"Not every day you see 400 pairs of shoes sitting in the drive way," Castillo said.  

 It was only half of the donations, the other 400 to 500 pairs in his garage, including everything from high-heels, Nikes, and boots.

 All of them will be driven 500 miles east to Louisiana, as families are still putting the pieces back together after major flooding.  

"They lost everything," Castillo said.

The images of heart break, at least seven people killed and more than 11,000 in shelters never faded for Castillo.

"A lot of people lost their vehicles lost their houses. Their only means of getting around is walking," Castillo said.

His friend from high school, Brandon Sherowse, said he was amazed at what he witnessed next. Sherowse works at the Friendly Spot in Southtown where he helped with one of the shoe drivers and a little boy stopped by.

"Apparently he walked into Friendly Spot, took his shoes off and put them in the bins and walked out bare foot," Sherowse said.  

Not only that the donations kept coming in. In two and a half weeks. Castillo helped bring in around a thousand pairs through his group Walk in My Shoes. Over four years the organization donated more than 14,000 pairs of shoes mostly to the homeless.

This year Castillo decided to spread the help to Louisiana, collecting everything from heels for women trying to get back to work, sneakers for kids and boots so people can walk through the damage.  

"When you don't have the means to go buy shoes is when you realize something so small can be so big to somebody," Castillo said.  

A final shoe drive is happening Oct. 9 at HERO FEST.

All the donations will be paired up and cleaned before Castillo and his volunteers drive to Louisiana next month, visiting shelters, relief centers, and the Red Cross. If the shoes aren't in good enough condition to be donated, the soles will be given to a group that will use the material to build playgrounds.

"We all go through struggles in life. Just giving them these shoes it will help them get back on their feet," Castillo said.

To get involved you can contact Eric at https://m.facebook.com/eric.castillo.180?ref=bookmarks.

 

(© 2016 KENS)


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