The SAS Comfort and Support team took thousands of shoes and a few helping hands to Baton Rouge, LA this August (2016) to fit flood victims with new shoes. Lines of flood victims gathered at Gospel Light Church for necessities like clothing, food and the most comfortable shoes. Approximately 1600 pairs of shoes made it onto the feet of those in need.

For some SAS volunteers, this was the first time taking a trip like this. “There were several members of our team who did not know each other, and had never worked together before,” said Gabriel P. (SAS Office), “I was impressed and touched by how quickly we all clicked and became a team.” “It was a pleasure to have worked side by side with such a hardworking group of people,” said Gloria F. (SAS Store, McAllen, TX). “I am very proud to have participated in this humanitarian effort and to work for a company that cares so much for the community.” "It truly was a humbling experience," expressed Joe C. (SAS General Store, San Antonio).

It takes a lot of organizing to set up thousands of shoes in order so finding the right size is quick and easy.

Veteran C&S Team members expressed that each trip holds new meaning. Amy M. (SAS Store, Irving, TX) revealed, “Each time has been a little more rewarding for me…Listening to all the people tell me how much they lost and how grateful they are to have dry shoes and socks was heartbreaking and rewarding at the same time!” Dyan R. (SAS Retail) conveyed how this trip affected her, “I’ve been on several disaster reliefs with the Comfort and Support Team and the people are the most amazing; they have endured SOOO much loss and devastation. Many were wearing flip flops, sandals or no shoes at all when they left their homes… My heart was over flowing!”

The SAS C&S Team not only donates shoes, but also fits people properly, ensuring they get a long lasting comfortable fit. Despite a tragic situation, many leave with a new pair of shoes and a big smile.

As in past trips, volunteers from the company convey the experience isn’t just about giving away shoes. “Ultimately, what we gave was more than a pair of shoes; it was a helping hand and an ear to listen to what everyone was going through,” responded Fabian S. (SAS Ecommerce). “It was a hug or even just some kind words that made (them) feel as if there’s a little bit of hope left in their world, or even just made them feel a little normal again.” “Through their fatigue, worry, and heartache, these people are able to express such appreciation and love - whether that is a smile, handshake, or more often than not, a huge hug. Their stories pour out through their tears and they still stand strong. We come to realize that we receive as much from them, as they receive from us,” affirmed Stephanie S. (SAS store Dallas, TX).

A father and his five sons get fitted in new shoes for school. This family lost everything, but now at least have comfortable shoes to take them to the next step in recovery.

Many feel grateful to work for a company that cares. “Going to Baton Rouge to help out was the most incredible experience I have ever had,” Emily A. (SAS Office) reported, “I would do it again and again, there are just no words I can think of right now to describe the feeling, I really am proud to work for SAS.” David C. agreed, “I feel so privileged to be able to help with such a generous endeavor and lucky to work for a company with such a big heart.”

SAS Comfort and Support Team giving a “thumbs up” after a long week of fitting soles and listening to stories.

A lesson all can learn from this philanthropy is to appreciate what we have today. “This experience made me realize that I need to slow down to enjoy the simple things in life. In our busy lives we are rush, rush, rush…and we forget about today,” added Peggy G. (SAS Store, Beaumont, TX), “Helping out in Baton Rouge was truly an eye opener…I met Nancy (a flood victim) who didn't have many material possessions, worked at the Dollar Tree, and she was emotionally distraught. All I could offer was a warm hug, sincere smile, and a very comfortable pair of shoes and socks. Most importantly I am remembering her in my prayers. Little does Nancy know how much she made an impact on my life!”

Learn more about the SAS Comfort and Support Team here.