Michelina Damianakis sported a pair of teal shoes as she unloaded a bus full of presents.
“They’re my favorite color,” she explained.
The weather is a little chilly for flip-flops, even here in Florida. But the 11-year old is happy customers were plentiful when the temperatures were warmer. Her flip-flop sales helped provide the presents.
“We all worked the glue gun,” joked her mom, Lisa. “There was glitter everywhere.”
Ten dollars bought you a pair of hand-designed flip-flops. Michelina decided regular flips-flops just weren’t fancy enough.
She sold them at farmer’s markets and at school, and 100 percent of the profits went into a fund to buy gifts.
Her goal was to reach $2,000 this year. With the help of The Watermark at Trinity residents, she made that mark.
“Everybody bought them even though we can’t wear them,” said May D’Andrea with a laugh. She’s lived at Watermark for a year. “If I had a daughter I’d want her to be like (Michelina).
In 2014, Michelina needed surgery. She had been a regular patient at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital since she was 6 months old. While stuck in the hospital, around the time of her 8th birthday, the staff gave her a present donated by a volunteer to cheer her up.
It inspired Michelina to do something similar for kids in the hospital for Christmas.
“I’ve very proud,” her mom said.
This is the third year that Michelina raised money with the footwear she calls “Floppies”. Trinity residents pitched in a few hundred dollars, and the retirement community presented her with a $1,000 grant as well.
This is now an annual tradition that Michelina hopes to continue for many years.
“I remember when I was here I had so much fun. All the people took care of me.”