Erin Bergstrom is the Co-Facilitator for the 31st Annual Shoes for the Holidays, an organization that collects shoes for those in need. For some people, something as simple as a pair of shes can make a world of difference.

Bergstrom recently told us a story of a young northern colorado boy and the power of new shoes. Or in this case boots.

Erin Bergstrom

"I met Abijah at a Christmas party. Santa was holding court in front of a Christmas tree in the corner.  Five-year-old Abijah was “working the room.” Red frosted cupcake in hand (and face), eyes sparkling as brightly as the lights on the tree, he was looking for new friends.  

Abijah asked if he could play my guitar. He sat on the floor, legs straight out. I helped him balance the guitar on his lap. He was soon strumming the strings to his own song. 

Some happy benefactors from a local church had provided Christmas presents for each boy and girl. Abijah was given a big lego spaceship, a pair of warm, winter gloves and two knit hats. He pulled on the gray hat, then held up the one with blue and white stripes. 

“You can have this one,” he declared. 

“Oh, no, it’s yours, Abijah,” I said. 

“No,” he replied. “I want you to have it." 

I protested again. 

He insisted.

This little boy had one hat and that was enough for him. He wanted to give the other to his new friend. Me. I was amazed by his generous and self-less offer.

His mother, Teresa, told me he’s always concerned about the needs of others. Yet she is sometimes “frazzled” by the demands of being a single mom to this affectionate, willful, and very active little boy. She graduated from CSU with a degree in criminal justice. She’s employed as a property manager. She also buys and sells used video game systems.  Yet with the high cost of housing, daycare . . . and everything else . . . it’s always hard for her to make ends meet. It’s even harder for some of her friends, who have several children to raise on their own. Like young mothers everywhere, Teresa often sacrifices her own needs to the needs of her only child. 

I wanted to do something for this engaging and sweet little boy, and asked his mom if I could buy him a pair of shoes. She said Abijah would really like something that’s just his own, not a hand-me-down from another. I asked her where she’d like to go; the three of us went to Walmart.  

“I want cowboy boots,” Abijah announced.                                                                                                                                        

“You need tennis shoes,” his mom replied. 

But he insisted. He tucked his pants inside some little brown cowboy boots and admired them.   

“You know,” Teresa told me, “I always have to fill our needs, before the wants. But this time . . .OK, Abijah . . . you can have the cowboy boots.” He threw back his shoulders and strutted down the aisle. 

If Abijah were writing these words, I’m sure he’d like to be your friend too. He’d offer you his knit hat, Spiderman mask, Ninja toy or another treasure, before bouncing off to his next adventure. 

Our 31st Annual Shoes for the Holidays campaign will end January 1st. We’ll take any type or size of gently-used shoes or boots.  But on behalf of all the Abijahs and Teresas here in Northern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming, what would you think of hitting the after-Christmas sales and getting them some nice, new shoes and socks instead? We’ll make sure they get onto the feet of those who want – and need them. 

This way, these boys and girls, women and men, can strut, skip or just walk with more confidence into the New Year."

These are the community drop-off locations: Please call ahead for available hours and times. 

  • Cheyenne, Wyoming: Anderson Podiatry Center –1950 Bluegrass Circle, Suite 150 – 307-634-7062
  • North Fort Collins: Anderson Podiatry Center – 1355 Riverside Ave. Suite C – 970-484-4620;
  • South Fort Collins: Runner’s Roost – 3500 S. College Ave. Suite 178 – 970-224-9114
  • North Loveland: Immanuel Lutheran Church and School – 4650 Sunview Drive – 970-667-4506
  • Downtown Loveland: J. Day’s Appliance, Mattress & Home Furnishings – 132 E. 7th St. – 970- 669-1357
  • East Loveland: Anderson Podiatry Center – 1440 N. Boise Ave. – 303-469-2940                                        

Questions? Contact: Erin Bergstrom – Co-Facilitator – 31st Annual Shoes for the Holidays – 970-691-0320