A friend of the school, Alexandra Verney, is part of a network of individuals who, as a community, identify as ‘TOY’, which stands for ‘Thinking of Yves’. Yves was the son of Monique and Max Burger who brought this network together after his unexpected passing in 2011. At TOY, we have learnt that it is very important to cherish every moment of growing up and, since its inception, instead of lingering on the negative aspects of sad events in our lives, this group does things that matter. TOY has since grown into a community that is dedicated to doing things that matter in Yves’ name and, in such actions, keep his memory alive. We work and collaborate to create meaningful projects all over the world to help others. Today, Monique and Max have expanded the meaning of TOY to ‘Thinking of You’ and encourage everyone to do good for others in the name of the loved ones they too have lost.
Alexandra was deeply moved on discovering Sal’s Shoes and the work they do to redistribute outgrown though not outworn shoes to those who cannot afford them. There are 300 million children in the world for whom walking with shoes is a rarity. This makes them extremely vulnerable to infection by parasites and injuries that are almost always left untreated.
Utilising the TOY network as well as so many wonderfully generous others, she is delighted to share that they have given 1,805 pairs of pre-loved shoes another chance to splash in puddles and kick up leaves on a new pair of feet. The first batch will be heading to the Ukraine at the end of this month in time for winter.
Sal’s Shoes sends pre-loved outgrown though not outworn shoes to 43 countries world wide, but their passage does not come for free. They ask for a minimum donation of £1 per pair so they are equally delighted to have raised £1,815 to speed all of the shoes on their way.
As a personal touch, they attached to every pair a personal keyring and letter that recipients can cherish long after they too have grown out of the shoes they have received from Sal’s. Special thanks are due to Mount Street Printers who kindly printed the keyring inserts for free as well as Strutt & Parker who printed our letters for us.
Special mention must also be given to Gayhurst School who donated over 550 pairs of shoes and equal funding to ship them. Equally, East Claydon C of E School has wholeheartedly supported our cause as has numerous other schools, parent networks, National Trust volunteers and other generous individuals across the country.
Alexandra should highlight that Monique, on learning of their plan to support Sal’s Shoes, donated a very special pair of boots – Yves’ very first pair. CJ, founder of Sal’s Shoes, who joined us on Saturday with her son Sal and daughter Clemie, will personally take this pair out to Africa on one of her next trips out there in the New Year and will send photos of the next child to have the benefit of wearing them.
Alexandra would like to thank Buckinghamshire Family Centres who supported them during their celebrations and final count on Saturday. They came armed with wonderful craft activities which kept all attending children happily engaged all morning and were so kind to care for and encourage children during their play. She hopes to welcome Buckinghamshire Family Centres every Wednesday morning for more free craft sessions for young children and she will be sure to let you know when this is up and running.
Below is a snap shot from Saturday 2nd November showing some of the many fantastic people who have helped gather, clean, and bind together all of the shoes they have collected since July – they needed 70 bags in total to fit them all in!