The Parents' Union (UPF, in Spanish) of the "Don Bosco" school in San Luis, Argentina has carried out a solidarity campaign called "Leaving Footprints in Exchange for Smiles".

It has now has been extended over the months of September and October and has collected nearly 300 pairs of shoes for those who need them most. According to the promoters of the initiative, the collaboration and participation of the whole community made it possible to achieve the objectives and has produced immense joy.

The delivery of shoes to the needy took place in the social refectory "Dejando Huellas" and at the refectory of the "Rincon de Luz" Foundation, both located in the southern area of the city of San Luis.

"My wife and I have been part of the UPF for five years, we enrolled in our son's first year of school. We were invited to participate and there I found a place to work for the good of this Salesian community where our children receive education and support," explains Diego Coronel, President of UPF and promoter of the campaign.

"During a visit to the soup kitchens of the city, the operators told him that, although there are many unmet needs, shoes are what is most needed. "There are children who don't have any kind of shoes, so they just walk around barefoot."

UPF members received a list of names with matching sizes and started the campaign. The Union has worked for many years in the Salesian school. It is an association of volunteers that independently plans and carries out specific actions, as well as collaborating on events developed by the school. Every May, for example, it produces and distributes the traditional “Mary Help of Christians chocolate” for more than 700 students and parents.

Members of the UPF

Diego hopes that these experiences also serve to pass on to his children "the values that really matter, that of equality above all, empathy towards others, humility, respect, solidarity, commitment, work, effort, the value of friendship, gratitude always… And then let them do what makes them happy."

"Meeting people, children, entire families who have many needs, who are not far away, and helping them as much as possible, is something that fills my soul and enriches me spiritually.At the UPF I found a place to work and carry out these solidarity actions, and I do it with the conviction that this is the path and the teaching for my children."

This story originally appeared in ANS