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Jestina Walcott

Categories: Community Stories

Two Ten Footwear Foundation partnered with Footwear News and their FN Labs to celebrate our 80th anniversary with a series of opinion pieces written by footwear people from across the industry.  

Why We Should Care.

Jestina Walcott, Two Ten Footwear Foundation
Jestina Walcott – Director of Social Services
Two Ten Footwear Foundation

For nearly 15 years, I have been working in social services. Eldercare, inpatient and outpatient facilities and, most recently, the Two Ten Footwear Foundation are all part of my background. Although these settings are very different from each other, the human need they represent is the same: people who are struggling and looking for kindness, compassion and a hand up.

People whose lives are in crisis do the best they can, with whatever means they have. It is only when they reach the end of their resources that they ask for help. They do not ask for a handout, but for a hand up – a bridge to get them from a point of despair to one of hope.

Just last week, I had a morning full of calls that were particularly frantic. “I have recently become a single mom,” said one caller, “and was left with all of the bills. I have to sell my house because I can’t pay the mortgage and also feed my young son.” A retail employee, who has worked in the same store for 19 years, told me his wife had lost her job and they were struggling to make ends meet. A third call was from a distraught footwear employee whose daughter was diagnosed with a severe medical condition; she didn’t know how she was going to pay the mounting expenses.

We were able to help all three of those footwear families get through their personal emergencies. Still, I can’t help but wonder how their lives – and the lives of all the other families that we’ve helped in our 80 years of service – would be different if Two Ten didn’t exist.

The footwear industry is unique in that it provides a hand up to its own workforce, making sure that every employee who is facing a difficult personal situation has somewhere to turn. The reality is that one in three employees in our industry will need Two Ten’s help at some point in their footwear career. It’s a staggering truth our team deals with daily, and it’s why we should all care.

More Two Ten Heroes.