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“This lady’s shoes … She don’t have no better shoes than that?” Raines asks in the clip. “What size shoes you got, queen?”
When the senior tells Raines that she wears a size 9, Raines immediately checks her van to see if she has a pair to replace the worn-out shoes. Fortunately, a volunteer in the vehicle finds a pair of Adidas in the senior’s size, and Raines motions another volunteer to direct the senior to a station that she has already set up.
“Come, mommy, don’t cry,” Raines, a former medical biller, tells the senior. “We’re going to get you your shoes on.”
The TikTok then shows the second volunteer helping the senior put on her shoes.
“You got new shoes,” Raines tells her. “How your feet feel?”
In return, the senior tells Raines that she feels “wonderful” before leaving the station.
Raines’ TikTok has since received nearly 5 million views and close to 12,000 comments from fellow TikTokers — many of whom praised Raines for helping the senior leave her worn-out shoes behind.
“Oh my goodness,” one person wrote. “Thank you so much for being you.”
“The way you speak to them, the way [the volunteer] put shoes on her, the compassion y’all have … [God’s] Work!” another added.
“You’re such a beautiful soul,” a third commented.
According to its website, Beauty 2 The Streetz “aims to serve the homeless by providing necessities,” including hot showers, meals, make-up and wigs. The nonprofit, which has recruited approximately two dozen volunteers, primarily serves those living in Los Angeles’ Skid Row and has helped over 400 people since its inception in 2017.
“Just because they live on the streets doesn’t mean that there aren’t things we can do to help them not appear as they live on the streets,” Raines explained to CNN in a 2020 interview. “It’s their right to be beautiful.”
Raines further elaborated on her reason for founding Beauty 2 The Streetz in a separate interview with In The Know.
"I've always had a hard life, but, following the death of my son, I broke," she said. "I came down with panic/anxiety disorder and couldn't even understand why I was still alive. I spent many years in a broken place, and, in my 40's, I just wanted the pain to end. I needed to make sense of what was happening to me. I started looking for something to put my time and energy into and that led me to a nonprofit that was feeding the homeless."
Over the years, Raines' work with those experiencing homelessness has not only helped them but herself as well.
"It has taught me that we need to change the narrative of what homelessness is," she said. "This is a community filled with pain, and they need our help, not judgment. It's taught me to be more patient as a person and to realize that, even though I have pain, I can still be helpful."
This story has been updated to include comment from Shirley Raines.
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