215 pairs of shoes line the front of the Westside Salvation Army thrift store in honour of the children’s remains found at a former Kamloops residential school. (Contributed)

215 pairs of shoes line the front of the Westside Salvation Army thrift store in honour of the children’s remains found at a former Kamloops residential school. (Contributed)

Westside Salvation Army commemorates Kamloops 215

“This is 215 precious little children whose futures were taken too soon.”

A Westside Salvation Army volunteer took it upon herself to commemorate the 215 children whose remains were found at a former Kamloops residential school.

Fiona Guidi displayed 215 pairs of shoes outside the Westside Salvation Army thrift store on Wednesday morning (June 2).

“It is just too much,” she said. “As a mother, I can’t imagine my child not coming home safely from school every day.”

The memorial mirrored others like it all across the province and the country.

“We can’t have reconciliation without truth,” Westside Salvation Army officer Jennifer Henson said.

“We want to stand with the families and the communities that are in mourning. We want to honour and pay respect to the innocent children whose lives were taken and their families.”

The thrift store’s windows have also been adorned with orange shirts to serve as a reminder that every child matters.

Westside Salvation Army’s Lenetta Parry said they want to do what they can to bring awareness to the systemic oppression in our communities.

“It is not just a number. This is 215 precious little children whose futures were taken too soon. One is too many,” she said.

“We acknowledge some of our staff, volunteers, clients, customers and many in our community are deeply impacted, and in some cases, personally affected by this tragedy.”

The Westside Salvation Army hopes the memorial honours the children and helps people understand the impact of residential schools, as well as help promote truth and healing.

The memorial will be on display until Sunday (June 6).

READ MORE: Trudeau calls on Catholic Church to take responsibility for residential schools


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