JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dozens of children who may not have had a new pair of shoes for the new school year got a surprise Wednesday, the first day of the 10th year of the Kicks for the Kids giveaway.
The gym at The Bethel Church was decorated like a shoe store with those who entered directed to tables sorted by size. The children got to pick out a pair they like and try them on before they were placed in individual shopping bags, just like they were picking out shoes to purchase. But they were free.
“It’s easy to say what you look like in school shouldn’t matter with how you perform in school, but the reality is, it does,” said Tan Mayhew, founder of Kids 4 Kids. “We take something as simple as a new pair of shoes, hoping to send a child back to school with a little more dignity, feeling good about themselves and just starting them off on the right track.”
The shoes were donated by WJXT Channel 4 viewers and others and collected over the last few weeks.
The final report from Mayhew: 1,237 pairs of shoes were donated this year, exceeding the goal of 1,000 pairs.
Children were given appointments to ensure social distancing.
All shoes left over after this year’s event will be given to two other nonprofit organizations that work with families in Jacksonville.