The 2015 recipients of the Can Do!  Awards were Wilkinson Center client Tonya Howard, Communities Foundation of Texas, and Wilkinson Center Shoe Drive Founder, Carlin Morris (right).

The 2015 recipients of the Can Do! Awards: Wilkinson Center client Tonya Howard, Communities Foundation of Texas representative Brent Christopher, and Wilkinson Center Shoe Drive Founder Carlin Morris: photo by Lisa Means

Lakewood neighbor Carlin Morris was honored at the Wilkinson Center‘s Can Do! Award luncheon last week for her work with the Wilkinson Center Shoe Drive, which she founded in 1985.

Through the Wilkinson Center, Morris raises money to give new shoes to children of all sizes during a two-day shoe drive at Payless Shoe Source in East Dallas, which has been an active participant in Morris’ cause for many years.

To thank Morris for her work, the Wilkinson Center renamed the shoe drive after her — a gesture that prompted more than a few tears from Morris and the lunch-goers around the room.

“What an honor,” Morris said, her voice thick with tears. “I had no idea they were going to do this. (The shoe drive) has become such an important part of my life. I have wonderful friends and family members and volunteers who make this a very easy job, so this award is also for all of you.”

Morris remembered the time when a Payless employee introduced herself to Morris with this touching story:

“She said, ‘Ms. Carlin, I know you don’t remember me, but my family had just moved here from Cambodia and we needed help. You gave me a new pair of shoes, and I decided that day that I wanted to make a difference in my life so that I could buy all the shoes I wanted.'”

The young woman is now a part of the Payless team. Although she was invited to the luncheon, she couldn’t make it because she was at home on bed rest, expecting a child.

In 30 years, Morris has helped more than 36,000, and she has countless stories to share.

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