Santa Clara Rotary Delivers Shoes to Honduran Children

By Melissa McKenzie

Four Santa Clara Rotarians spent four days traveling well over 4,000 miles to bring a little goodwill and needed supplies to children in the Honduras.

Santa Clara Rotarians Charles Frost, Lorenzo Rios, Karen Degro and Lizzy Barron Silva, along with members of the San Miguel De Heredia Rotary Club in Tegucigalpa handed out over 500 pairs of shoes to local, needy children on the island of Utila in February.

The trip, made possible through a grant from Rotary International, has long been a dream of Rios’, who grew up in Central America.

“Lorenzo from our club—it has been a dream of his to do something for the kids of the island,” said Frost. “Some of the kids who came up to get shoes didn’t have shoes on. We found out that they don’t have an ambulance on the island and have one doctor. It’s a different world. This was really him and a couple of other Rotary Club members. He had been working on this project for a couple of years and wrote the grant proposal. We knew that we did the shoe program [Steps for Sucess] here in Santa Clara so we knew it worked and decided we could take it to another community. That was the thought behind it.”

Not only did the Rotarians provide shoes, handcrafted by a local Honduran shoemaker with rubber soles and leather uppers, for the schoolchildren of Útila, the Santa Clara and San Miguel De Heredia Rotary Clubs had shoes made for children who attend school on the nearby island of Pigeon Key, a small, fishing town off the coast of Útila.

Frost said that in addition to shoes, the Rotary Club assembled nine first aid kits and brought a bag of adhesive bandages and alcohol wipes to give to each of the classrooms. As the executive director of Vanguard Music and Performing Arts, Frost said he also brought 90 Santa Clara Vanguard shirts to give to the children of Pigeon Key.

“Overall,” said Frost, “it was a great experience to see another culture, another life and see how they operate … It was neat to see a different culture but it makes you thankful for this little weird bubble we live in.”

Although the whirlwind trip was mentally and physically exhausting for the four Rotarians, the club is already looking to find ways they can help the residents of Puerto Rico, who remain devastated by the 2017 hurricanes.

“We’re talking about writing a grant proposal to try and find a way to help the people of Puerto Rico to get back on their feet,” said Frost. We’re already starting to talk about doing a similar project—maybe it’s shoes for kids, maybe it’s first aid supplies or water filtration—for Puerto Rico. Karen is originally from Puerto Rico so that’s near and dear to her.”