Nicole Vaughn had been teaching for four years, when she experienced something truly unbelievable—just in time for the holidays.
It all started with a heart-breaking observation. “I looked down one day and could see [one student’s] toes through his shoes… and I realized he wore the same outfit four days in a row.”
When asked about it, the little boy confessed that his feet were always cold. For Nicole, it wasn’t even a question of what to do next. She knew she had to help.
“I kind of told a white lie,” she explains. “I told him I had extra clothes and shoes lying around from little cousins and asked if he would be interested…”
Nicole already knew what his response would be before his eyes lit up and a smile spread across his face. She was further convinced that something must be done.
Almost in tears, she approached her school’s administration to make sure she had their permission to help the boy. Once her request was approved, she was ready to go ahead with her plan.
That night, she got online and posted a plea to her local VarageSale buy and sell community. Her request? One pair of shoes.
“I had been on VarageSale for almost a year at that point, and… I had seen previous situations where the women in our community reached out for help….”
But Nicole couldn’t have predicted what happened next. She didn’t receive just one pair of shoes—or two—but dozens! And the women she reached out to didn’t stop at shoes. They donated jeans and tops, PJs and toothpaste, gifts cards and cash, and so much more!
“I kept receiving and receiving,” says Nicole who was initially concerned about what to do with the influx of items. Then she looked around her school and realized there were other children who could do with a new pair of shoes or some warm clothes. “I thought, why not just continue to give if people are willing? After all, it was the season for helping others.”
In the end, Nicole’s thoughtfulness created a snowball effect. The generosity of her VarageSale community meant the little boy got his pair of shoes (and many other items) just in time for Christmas—and, after involving the school guidance counselor, she was able to help an additional 16 children at her school whose families were in need.
“I just wanted to help this little boy. I had no idea how big it truly would become,” Nicole explains. “This world can truly be a special place.”