When most second graders are asked what they want for their birthday, it’s not uncommon for them to produce a seeming endless list of the latest toys and gadgets the market has to offer. But when Destiny Martinez – a second grader at St. Kateri Catholic Academy – was asked what she wanted for her birthday, she requested just one thing.
And that one thing wasn’t even for her.
For her eighth birthday, Destiny asked all her friends and relatives to give her a pair of new or slightly used shoes that could be donated to Soles4Souls – a nonprofit organization that distributes shoes to the poor.
It didn’t take long before piles of shoes began to accumulate in the classroom and at Destiny’s home. By the time she was done collecting shoes at the end of October, Destiny had collected more than 100 pairs of shoes.
In an email to the school from Destiny’s mother, Christina, Destiny had described the entire experience as her “bestest birthday ever.”
Destiny was inspired to collect as many shoes as possible for her eighth birthday after seeing a news broadcast where another young lady collected shoes for a similar reason. She saw the joy that was brought to so many people, and decided to do the same thing.
“I saw on TV there was a girl who didn’t want any presents for her birthday, she asked her friends to bring two pairs of shoes to her birthday,” said Destiny. “I wanted to do that too and (my parents) said I could.”
While it may be surprising to hear an 8-year-old say she doesn’t want presents for herself on her birthday, the praise she received isn’t so surprising. Throughout the duration of collecting shoes, Destiny had several people tell her how noble her act was – especially from family members.
“My grandma said I was an angel and Ms. Modrowski said it was really nice of me (to donate shoes),” Destiny said. “That made me feel great.”
(— from St. Kateri Catholic Schools)