Thanks from 'Kicks for the Kids' for all your generosity

Over 3,000 pairs of shoes were collected for children in need this year

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The "Kicks for the Kids" campaign helped children start the school year off on the right foot by providing kids with a new pair of shoes.

This year, over 3,000 pairs of shoes were donated for those who otherwise could not afford them. Lines were long as parents waited for the doors to open to families so they could pick out their new kicks.

It was apparent that the need was great; some families arrived at 4 a.m. to get in line because they didn't want to miss getting shoes for their kids. 

Selena Hope brought her six children to the shoe giveaway. "The expense with six kids, $50 a pop, just do the math, and it's just hard with one person working at the time," said Hope.

She wasn't the only mother who brought several children with her to get shoes for them on Sunday at "Kicks for Kids."

Chloe Cosby brought 15 kids. "I'm grateful for my community, for the fact that they do this every single year, and they keep showing up for the children. It gives them a sense of hope and pride to keep coming back, and when they get older they will want to give back also. Thank you, Jacksonville," said Cosby.

Inside the Carter G. Woodson Elementary School's cafeteria volunteers came together to give kids, the school shopping experience some have never had.

Families came in, 20 kids at a time, to pick out the shoes they wanted.

Tan Mayhew founded the Kicks for Kids shoe drive eight years ago. It began with just 50 pairs of shoes and has grown tremendously!  This year, 3,218 pairs of shoes were donated.

"I have to tell myself don't cry, because to me it's a pair of shoes, but to them it's life-changing. It will help them start the school year off with their self-esteem a little bit higher," said Mayhew.

Kids like Jonathan Mendez will start the school year off confidently at Frank H. Peterson High School. 

"Never in my life have I owed LeBron James shoes. Never. Never. They are so nice. They are $200 shoes. I couldn't afford shoes like this. I'm grateful.  I was hoping last night that I (would) get a pair of LeBron James shoes. I really did, and I got what I wanted," said Mendez.

Because the community was so generous, some kids were able to take home multiple pairs of shoes, including tennis shoes and a pair of dress shoes or sandals.

Laisha Day brought her 10 children and said she is grateful. "It means a lot to us that people reached out to help others in need," said Day. 

All of us at News4Jax thank the donors and wish those going back to school a wonderful year. 

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