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'LOVE AND SOLE' EVENT - Covenant House, Oakland, California

       On Monday, March 7, 2016, we had the opportunity and privilege to caravan with HavASole to Oakland, CA on the first leg of their west coast tour delivering new Nike tennis shoes to those in need.  We left that Monday morning at 5:30am.  As we began our ascension through the mountain pass of the Grapevine, the sun began to rise on the day as the rain began to heavily fall from the sky.  As we continued our climb through the mountains and the daylight began to break the darkness of the sky, snow began to fall.  We could see snow capped mountain tops as we made our way through the mountains.  As we began our descension into the Central Valley of California, the clouds began to breakaway and the sunlight penetrated the day.  Our travel was safe and filled with sunshine with minimal and light rain as we entered the Bay Area, arriving in Oakland midday.

          Our first stop when entering Oakland was Covenant House Oakland, nestled blocks away from Jack London Square overlooking the San Francisco Bay.  We spent the first part of the afternoon meeting staff and touring the awesome grounds and facility.  The Golden State Warriors, along with Ikea, recently completed a major renovation for Covenant House, upgrading the rooms at the facility.  We spent the rest of the afternoon sorting and organizing shoes in preparation for the 5:00pm event and giveaway with the youth residing at Covenant House.  And MEND Poverty graciously donated 350lbs. of fruits, chips, and pastries for the the trip.  The kitchen was grateful for the apples and bananas

          Just before 5:00pm, Rikki, Dash, Isaiah, and I brought the over 35 pairs of shoes to the rooftop and nicely organized them by size and separated them by male and female shoes.  We started the event in the lobby with the youth introducing ourselves and explaining why we were there.  Our Vice-President, Jeanne Phillips, was in attendance for the event since she resides in the Bay Area.  Rikki and Dash introduced us and the youth to their local support team.  The youth enjoyed picking out a pair of new Nike tennis shoes.  We ate pizza, talked, and got to know the kids.  We took pictures and mostly importantly, we shared some unconditional love.  Our time at Covenant House Oakland was so special and we are so grateful that we accompanied HavASole on the road trip.  We look forward to returning to visit again soon.  

- Greg