Hundreds Line Up For Free Shoes at AFL-CIO

Hundreds Line Up For Free Shoes at AFL-CIO

With over 1,600 pairs of shoes and over 1,200 children, the AFL-CIO is making sure kids are ready for school.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A line wrapped around the AFL-CIO building in St. Joseph Monday as kids waited to get a free pair of shoes.

With more than 1,600 pairs of shoes and more than 1,200 children, the AFL-CIO organizes the campaign each year to make sure kids are ready for school. 

"It made me happy that they were able to get a pair of shoes.  I know they've been counting down the days to go back.  So they're ready and I'm ready to send them back," said Jeremy Duncan, parent.

AFL-CIO's Soles For Christ program helps kids start the school year on the right foot.

"We bring them two or three different pairs to look at and try on and we try to really find them something that they really like.  So, it's not just 'here's a pair of shoes.'  It's like, 'pick a pair of shoes,'" said Ann Garrison, volunteer.

A grandmother of five was the first in line. She showed up just after 10 p.m. Sunday and waited all night.

"She decided she wanted to get here and be sure her grandkids got shoes.  They showed up that early and waited," said AFL-CIO Executive Director Penny Adams.

If kids didn't find their size Monday, they'll be able to come back on Friday to get the right size.  Accomodations are also made for kids who can't be there at all.

"If we can't serve them, they'll get a little slip of paper to remind them to come back on Friday and we'll have their shoes ready for them.  Naturally, we have a few children that are sick and unable to come, so we're asking them to come back on friday as well," said Adams.

By volunteers stepping up, kids aren't just getting a pair of shoes but a piece of their childhood as well.

"Kids don't really have any say in their circumstance.  So, when you can help a kid and make them feel good and they're happy, there's no better feeling than that," said Garrison.

Many of the shoes come from financial donations that volunteers use to buy the shoes.  If you would still like to donate shoes, collections continue throughout the year.
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