'Yes, I Said Shoe Closet' | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

'Yes, I Said Shoe Closet'

I can't tell you how many intense business meetings I've been in with a group of dynamic women, negotiating or planning this or that, and suddenly one of us pauses mid-sentence and proclaims, "Where did you get those shoes!?!"

"Shoe Bar. And they were on sale, girlfriend!"

"Get outta here."

Soon, we resume our business conversation. Occasionally, men are also at the table, looking a bit startled at the sudden detour into one of the loves of most women's lives: shoes. Nothing proves the differences between the genders quite like this topic.

Men seldom understand. I know Todd doesn't. He has, basically, three pairs of dark shoes that look alike. And a pair of sneakers. And maybe some Tevas somewhere.

My main closet has all my everyday shoes in a neat hanging bag on the door; my second closet has my sneakers and boots; my third closet is filled with shoe boxes along the top shelf, and many of those shoes come out maybe once a year. But when they do, they are exactly where they are supposed to be: on my feet, making me look and feel like a "Sex in the City" chick.

When Alecia Edney, a Northwest Rankin senior, called me last week to talk about shoes, I thought of all those boxes lined up, waiting for me to grab a pair for the Best of Jackson party or the Friendship Ball every year. I then thought how it must feel to leave them all behind as I fled for my life.

I met Alecia in November at a town-hall meeting on domestic violence at the Flowood library. I was on the panel with Sandy Middleton, the director of the Center for Violence Prevention in Pearl, a shelter for battered women and children fleeing for their lives. Alecia was in the audience. It was in the weeks after Jackson had lost three beautiful women to violent men: Heather Spencer, Doris Shavers and Latasha Norman.

Alecia stayed to talk to Sandy and me afterward, saying she wanted to do something to help. She called me last week to tell me what she had decided to do.

For her senior project, Alecia is collecting women's and children's shoes—500 pairs, she hopes—to donate to the Center for Violence Prevention. They can be new or used, any size, as long as they are clean and in good shape. After Alecia delivers all these shoes to the Center, the women there can pick out pairs to replace the ones they and their children left behind, alongside the violent men who drove them away. They can be everyday practical shoes, like mine in closet number one, or they might be fun, festive, I-feel-beautiful shoes like those I store in closet number three.

Alecia asked me if I thought she could collect 500 pairs of shoes. I told her that I had faith that she could. I also offered our old reception room—our office space just doubled, leaving some empty space for abundance—as a big shoe closet to stack them in as they arrive. Her deadline is March 15.

I don't know about you, but I believe in Alecia's vision, and I believe that the women (and men) of Jackson will respond to the ripple of love that she wants to drop in the pool of sadness that surrounds abused women and children. Since I posted a call-for-shoes on our Web site, we've gotten a number of responses, leaving the impression that shoe closets around the metro will be sorted over the next few days.

One reader, "Sharon," posted this week: "Y'all are fixin' to hit the motherlode. I'm going through my shoe closet over the next two nights and will deliver the haul on Friday. Yes—I said shoe closet."

Atta girl, Sharon.

As for you guys: Your help is welcome as well. And imagine the smiles you will bring to a saleswoman's (or your love's) face when you plop down a credit card at Payless or Orange Peel, and say, "Give me $100 worth of shoes for the women's shelter."

Talk about karma for life.

And you don't have to stop at your shoe closet to help. The JFP Chick Ball committee had our first 2008 meeting last week here in my new classroom. We're planning this year's Chick Ball, which for the fourth year will benefit the Center for Violence Prevention. Each year, we raise more money—and this isn't one of those $100-a-ticket things that most Jacksonians cannot afford to attend. You can get into the Chick Ball for as little as $5 (although we'll take any amount you'll give us). You can also volunteer to help, donate money, door prizes or art, sign on as a sponsor, or make a myriad of other contributions.

That means every single person reading this can be a part of something bigger than each of us. All those $5 bills add up, just as the shoes are going to pile up here in our spare room.

I urge you to join with us and do whatever you can. The Chick Ball fever is a remarkable thing—last year, we just kept hearing from more and more people, with diamond earrings walking in the door for the auction right before the event. The people, male and female, who want to help are passionate—and there is an unspoken (and sometimes spoken) understanding that many of us have experienced domestic violence in our own families.

I certainly have.

This city has had a horrendous year on this front, with the evidence of the epidemic plastered on our front pages and the evening news. We know that family violence does not just occur in certain neighborhoods or among the poor. Sandy Middleton likes to tell how she has powerful women in her shelter who escaped with nothing, and she has families who had nothing in the first place.

We can change this, starting with a pair of shoes we love, and continuing with each of us spreading awareness about the severity of domestic violence in Mississippi.

I have this lovely image of women poking through the shelter's shoe closet, oohing and ahhing over a strappy number, such as the ones Lori Gregory has pledged. Just the thought of the pain being interrupted by a great pair of shoes—just like all those business meetings—brings a smile to my face.

Yours, too?

To donate shoes for Alecia's project and/or help with or donate to the Chick Ball, call the JFP at 601.362.6121 ext. 2 or e-mail [e-mail missing].

Previous Comments

ID
76249
Comment

Bump. Bring 'em on, folks.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-02-27T21:11:31-06:00
ID
76250
Comment

Ladd-I had all the shoes in a bag ready to go "the night the lights went out in Jackson". I didn't get to deliver them. They are now in the back seat of the car. I think its around 15 pair. So, I just need to drop them off at the office? I think I can fit that in sometime today or tomorrow.

Author
Lori G
Date
2008-02-28T08:48:23-06:00
ID
76251
Comment

Yep, we'll be there. Coming by between 9 and 5:30 is always safe. Often afterward. 2727 Old Canton; we're the upstairs level. (You know that; it's for others.) 15 pairs!? That's wonderful. Bring 'em on, y'all. Oh, and gentlemen, golden eagle has always dropped of a bag of new sneakers for women and children. There is your challenge. Let's make Alecia a superstar, and a lot of families a little bitter happier!

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-02-28T09:06:23-06:00
ID
76252
Comment

The wife must have some extra... will investigate l...

Author
gipper
Date
2008-02-28T09:11:56-06:00
ID
76253
Comment

Woo, hoo! The shoes are starting to pile up! Keep 'em coming.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-02-28T17:59:04-06:00
ID
76254
Comment

I certainly hope that my contribution helps. After reading that I want to go BACK through the shoe closet!

Author
sharon
Date
2008-02-29T09:59:05-06:00
ID
76255
Comment

You got us going, girl. Thanks! And, of course, we'll take more if you have them.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-02-29T10:35:46-06:00
ID
76256
Comment

Major kudos to my sister, Kim, for all the shoes she donated. I had three pairs, but she had 18! Of course, she shops a lot more than I do. :-) Donna, did you get a chance to look at the clothes I brought?

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2008-02-29T11:21:08-06:00
ID
76257
Comment

Oh, and gentlemen, golden eagle has always dropped of a bag of new sneakers for women and children. That was supposed to have been our little secret. But if it helps me score points with women, I'm cool with it!

Author
golden eagle
Date
2008-02-29T11:49:41-06:00
ID
76258
Comment

Trying not to get misty eyed as I give away a toddler chick's (Chick-lett??) must have- HOT PINK COWBOY BOOTS, size 3. Friendly reminder: Tomorrow is the deadline for SHOES for Alecia's shoe drive for the Center for Violence Prevention. The lovely gals (and me) at the Children's Defense Fund have cleaned out our closets and are bringing over 50 plus pairs after lunch. Hope those cowboy boots put a smile on some budding chicklett's face. And some power under her feet.

Author
urbangypsy
Date
2008-03-14T11:14:48-06:00

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