New York-based “Its From the Sole” (sole of the feet for those in need) founder Andre McDonnell, partnered with Guyanese-born Melissa Garner to bring much needed footwear to less fortunate residents of rural Ann’s Grove on the East Bank Demerara, Guyana, during a recent outreach in the village.
The outreach held at the Ann’s Grove Secondary School, also outfitted students with school supplies to start the school year as part of the organization’s give back that Garner’s “Events by Melissa” Soles for Guyana” planned for this particular village where she was born.
The donated footwear that were distributed to both children and adults, is the first such donation, after the two Caribbean-born met in Barbados a few months ago and collaborated to bring the program to Guyana.
“This is what I wanted to do for Guyana, moving forward, so I hope we could do this again for other villages,” said Garner. “I was blown away by how many people participated and volunteered. I received so much support,” he added. “I wish we could have catered for more, however, everyone left with something. I always like to give back. I don’t’ forget where I came from, I am also dong this to stay in touch with the community.”
Barbados-born McDonnell said after meeting Garner in Barbados three months ago, he was passionate about bringing the initiative to Guyana, and brought 300 pairs of footwear. “The shoes are for people who need, and not want,” he said, adding that some of the footwear was purchased, while those that were donated, were cleaned, making them comfortable for persons on their journey.
Alex Hercules, president of the Ann’s Grove Association, has for the last 25 years helped Ann’s Grove and surrounding villages finance school lunch programs, scholarships, and have helped in fixing street lights.
“It took a lot of work to get to this point,” said Hercules, who commends the successful outreach that helped kids and adults.
“Today, 800 people have benefited from programs planned by the organization. We hope to continue our trek to the Ann’s Grove community and make it annual,” he added.