ISABELA, Philippines — The SM Store continues to bring happiness to Filipino communities, this time reaching out to the remote farming barangay of Diasan in Isabela province.
Home to more than 600 people, Diasan is teeming with vast fields of corn, bananas and pineapple. Here, life is simple. Most of the residents have never set foot in a mall before. But on September 17, The SM Store came to them through its Share Shoes program, which distributed shoes to students and conducted a medical mission.
“We are here to show the residents that while they may be far from the city, they are never forgotten by SM, that is why we are bringing Share Shoes here,” said Cielito Velasquez, assistant branch manager of The SM Store Cauayan, which is a two-hour drive away from Diasan.
The road to Diasan provides scenic views but the terrain is quite challenging, even for expert drivers. Residents to this day experience challenges in accessibility, what more the young ones.
Tucked in the middle of the barangay is the Diasan Elementary School. To get here, many of the students have to walk for hours on dirt roads and slippery slopes.
By donating new shoes to the students, The SM Store’s Share Shoes hopes to make the journey of the students easier and more comfortable.
Employee volunteers from The SM Store, Savemore and SM Foundation, as well as Diasan residents worked together to build a big tent, assemble racks and decorate classrooms where kids could pick new shoes and play with their friends.
The children eagerly awaited for their turn to enter a classroom-turned-shoe store, where they chose from clogs, sneakers, sandals, flats and slip-ons donated by The SM Store MLC Shoes and Bags, and SM’s retail affiliates Crocs and Simply Shoes.
The kids could not wipe off the smiles on their faces as volunteer employees from The SM Store Cauayan assisted them in selecting and trying on their shoes, replicating the department store experience.
Volunteers and the community leaders also helped in washing the feet of the children, imparting to them the importance of taking care of one’s feet.
The kids were then treated to fun games and groceries from Savemore. They even participated in a Zumba session initiated by SM employees.
The kids seemed to be more confident in their actions and interactions with others, knowing their feet were comfortable and secure in their new shoes.