(ST. JOSEPH, Mo) New kicks are a must have for kids as they head back to school, but for some families, its a luxury they can’t afford. That’s where the AFL-CIO steps in, providing new shoes to families across the area. Making it easier for families is the goal of its' shoe program, Soles For Christ.
It helps out so many families alleviate the expenses" said Becky Gach, an administrative assistant with te organization.
The group provides free pairs of shoes to all school age children in St. Joseph, and the immediate surrounding areas. The organization understands the trouble some parents face when it comes to providing everything kids need for back to school.
"It's really hard sometimes for parents that struggle, so this is very rewarding." said Jean Warren, a shoe store manager who volunteers her time for the organization.
They also understand the impact these shoes have a child's’ life.
"For a lot of these kids, they never get another new pair of shoes, this is the only new pair of shoes that they get all year." said Gach.
The program relies on community donations, over 1500 pairs of shoes were donated this year. Shoes of every size big and small, and enough for kids to pick their favorites.
"Nikes Converses and Adidas…" said Destinee Mehelic, a 4th Grader.
Whatever the size, color or brand name, to the kids it was all about new beginnings
"it makes me feel like a fresh start, like a fresh start in a new year." Kaleigh Demaranville, a 5th Grader.
A fresh start for the kids is what Warren says the program is all about.
"They’re ready to go, they’re excited about school. you’re doing something good, and the kids appreciate it.