Program Gives New Shoes to Students in Need

Published 08/08 2011 03:17PM

Updated 08/10 2011 09:53AM

We rarely think of shoes as a confidence booster, but imagine if you were in high school or grade school.

A local program gave away hundreds of new shoes to kids and teens that need them most.

Hours before doors could open at the AFL-CIO a line was already wrapped around the building.

"When families can stand in line for a couple of hours for a pair of shoes they need help," said AFL-CIO Executive Director Penny Adams.

"It means a whole lot because I could not afford to buy him any shoes," said one parent, Sandy Downs.

"Soles for Christ" is a program that offers free shoes for kids and teens before going back to school.

"Things are really tough now and it is wonderful that there are organizations like this that will help families in need," said another parent, Hellen Sproat.

Volunteers like Connie Newton have been with the program since it started 8 years ago.

She says "Soles for Christ" is one of her most enjoyable charities to get involved in.

"I was an educator for 31 years. I know how important it is that kids start school with high self esteem and feel good about that first day of school. I think this does it for a lot of those kids," said Newton.

"School can be tough for children. He got a pair of sketchers so that is really really nice. He is real excited about that," said Downs.

For parents, the extra assistance means more money in their pockets to pay other bills.

"That means food, electric and water," said Downs.

Roughly a thousand shoes were donated and they're already flying off the shelves and onto feet of kids who need them most.

"It is just awesome all the way," said Downs' son, Jaden Downs.

"It helps people who really need it and right now a lot more people need it than usual," said Sandy Downs.

The AFL-CIO is still in need of more shoes or monetary donations.

You can stop by their office at 1203 N. 6th St. in St. Joseph.

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