As articles of clothing we may wear every single day, shoes tend to get worn out quickly. This is doubly true for children. Since their feet are still growing, kids regularly need to get new shoes that fit.
Unfortunately, shoes can be very expensive and not everyone can afford to buy new ones.
In lower income families, it’s not uncommon for children to wear the same shoes long past when they’ve outgrown them. This results in broken shoes that are not good at protecting people from the elements.
Thankfully there are people out there willing to provide shoes for those who cannot afford their own.
At a Utah school, kids needed their shoes repaired so often teachers were running out of duct tape.
La Verkin Elementary is an underprivileged school in Southern Utah. 75 percent of the student body is enrolled in the free or reduced lunch program and many students can’t afford new shoes.
This is a big problem because it rains frequently in Utah and without proper protection, kids walk into school with cold wet feet. The teachers do their best to avoid this by repairing students’ shoes, but there’s only so much they can do.
“Throughout the year we go through duct tape because we’re fixing kids shoes all the time,” Amy Christiansen, Title I Coordinator at La Verkin Elementary School, told Good 4 Utah.
On May 1, Kegan, a 7-year-old, walked to school in the rain sporting a pair of “holey” shoes.
“They used to be new, but I kept stepping on rocks and they got holes in them,” he told his local news.
Yet that was his last day walking in worn-out shoes.
A nonprofit known as Samaritan’s Feet donated 550 pairs of shoes to the school—one for each student.
Samaritan’s Feet is an international nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide shoes for kids all over the world. On May 1, they donated 550 pairs of shoes to La Verkin Elementary, enough for each student.
“Aren’t you excited?” a volunteer from Samaritan’s Feet asked Kegan.
“Yes!” he replied.
“How does that feel?” the volunteer asked.
“Awesome,” Kegan said.
What Kegan loved most about his new shoes were the Velcro straps, which meant he didn’t have to tie. He also enjoyed how “un-holey” they were.
“Because they don’t have to get all wet, my feet don’t have to get wet,” he said.
Kegan was just one of many excited about his new shoes. Each kid got to pick out the pair they wanted most. Some, like the pair Dakota picked out, featured famous cartoon characters and super heroes.
“I really needed new shoes. All my old shoes are getting worn out,” she told Good 4 Utah … I love Wonder Woman so much.”
Before putting the kids’ new shoes on for them, volunteers from a local Walmart Distribution Center came by to wash their feet. The La Verkin donation marked Samaritan’s Feet having given away over 20,000 pairs of shoes.
Denise Blomberg, the Regional Director of Operations for Samaritan’s Feet, told Good 4 Utah about their organization’s mission, “Just offering a message of love, hope and inspiration to kids and washing their feet and giving them a new pair of shoes and socks.”
That’s a mission we can all get behind!