PHOENIX — A Valley nonprofit that helps those experiencing homelessness gave out 210 pairs of brand new sneakers this week. It's part of Cloud Covered Streets' "Operation Santa."
Robert Thornton, the executive director of Cloud Covered Streets, built a mobile laundry and shower trailer that he takes around the Valley three times a week. People can also get new clothes, haircuts and supplies. They started doing that in August.
"We have blacks, whites, Hispanic, Native Americans, gay, straight, transgender-- everybody. And they're just sitting around all having a good time feeling normal and getting treated with respect, which they very rarely get," said Thornton.
This week for Christmas, Cloud Covered Streets wrapped up Nike shoes and gifted them to those who used the shower and laundry services.
"To be able to give them something they can actually unwrap and always interesting to see their faces light up when they see that Nike symbol...they know they're getting a good pair of shoes," said Thornton.
Gregory Alexander lives in the homeless shelter nearby. He said he was robbed of everything a few days ago, and at the event Wednesday he was able to get so much back. He got a white pair of Nikes too.
"So many people are full of fear and anxiety and pain and heartache and frustration and what a blessing for people to spread a little joy and the love of Christ through giving," he said.
"I haven't had new shoes in a few years, so it's pretty emotional for me," said Chad Martinez.
"When you're homeless, you're always walking around. When you're walking around you want some new shoes that will fit you, that's going to keep you comfortable, that's going to get you to your destination to your goals," said Rachael Pastran, wearing her new pair of shoes.
"I'm thankful you know? For all of this that they do. They don't really have to spend their money, but they just want to give back because they have blessings too," said (Erika Navarette.
Cloud Covered Streets operates thanks to donations. Learn how you can help here.