It was the third stop on our Boot Drop tour of Romania. This day, I was with local partner “Something New” and some local Roma volunteers in the small, impoverished village of Pat Arat. The rain had been following us all week, and between the soggy weather and the jam-packed schedule, we were all feeling a little run down.
But then, in an instant, everything changed. As we were handing out boots to the local children, the sky began to clear a bit. Jason Castro (of American Idol) was along for the trip, and he pulled out his ukulele and started to play and sing “Somewhere over the Rainbow.”
The children began clapping and dancing along, and their smiles were a bright as the sun peeking through the clouds. The change in our mood was tangible. The sunlight, the music, the smiles, just lifted us all up and reminded us not only why we were there, but that we were blessed to be in that rainy spot on that dreary day.
At Roma Boots, it isn’t just about that moment of giving proper footwear and a bag of school supplies to some of the poorest children in the world. It’s about the hope that this brings to them and their community.
Yes, that moment of change when you help a child take off a muddy, worn sandal and put on a pair of durable, comfortable boots that will protect their precious feet - that’s amazing. It’s why I was there. As busy as running a company can be, I still want to go and get to have that experience myself. I remember standing in my own village of Benesti as a six-year-old boy getting my first pair of rain boots and the excitement of the world opening up to me. Nothing will ever compare to getting to share the magic of that moment with these kids.
But, even better for me, and for everyone who has purchased a pair of Roma Boots, is that by giving these boots to these children gives them and their communities hope. Hope that they can now walk outside and not worry about their feet getting wet and cold. Hope that they can walk to school and learn. Hope that by learning to read and write they will be the generation that uses education to address the challenges of their communities and lift themselves out of poverty.
It is a lofty goal for sure. But all of us here at Roma Boots believe that it is possible. It is why, every day, we do what we do. With our efforts and the support of our amazing customers, we know that our goal of Giving Poverty the Boot is worth every muddy, dreary and challenging day. We know that just like the sun that managed to break through the clouds that day in Pat Arat, that opportunity is just beyond the horizon for these children. And we can’t wait to be there singing and dancing when it happens.