SAN ANTONIO — At first glance, the Candlewood Elementary School gym looked a little strange. Instead of competition, the gym was filled with compassion - in a variety of colors.
"They came in here shy, but they left out here with a big ol' smile," said Rick Cepeda, one of the event workers.
The organization Samaritans' Feet teamed up with Walmart to give every student at the school brand-new shoes. That's about 485 kids.
Yarieliz Ramierez was ecstatic about her new sneakers.
"They fit perfectly, and I have pretty big feet," she said. "My old shoes didn't even have the padding inside...my old ones were just ugly blue and green, and these ones were actually really pretty."
But before slipping on the shoes, students had their feet washed by one of 30 volunteers. A simple act, with a complex meaning.
"Your feet are the sensors to everything, and that goes to your brain," said volunteer Judy Carlile. "And you know what - we touched their feet, which means we touched their heart."
Candlewood is the only school in San Antonio that will benefit from the Samaritan's Feet program. And with every pair of shoes that was picked up, these kids received something else you can't put a pricetag on.
"I was able to hug almost every single one of these babies today," explained Carlile. "The kids are our tomorrow, and if we don't show them that love today, that they truly deserve, they're not gonna know how to share that with the next generation."