Some of us have a closet full of shoes; some of us toss our shoes in the back of our car and forget about them for quite some time. Every day we move along without notice of the items that protect our feet. But we do need to stop and think that it is more than ‘just a pair of shoes’.
This month, we had the great honor of working with the Shoes That Fit organization. The Shoes That Fit organization is a 501(C)(3) national grass roots charity that supplies school children in need with brand new pairs of shoes that fit each child’s individual size. The process of providing the shoes to a local school was absolutely seamless, thanks to the help of their wonderful volunteers and staff. The team at Shoes That Fit contacted the schools in need nearby, requested a list of children, had the school measure their sizes, and then provided us a detailed list of children to shop for. It was incredibly organized and efficient. Just about a week or two later our Broadview Mortgage Katella team gathered all of the shoes that we purchased together and brought them over to our local elementary school.
When life gets so busy, we become so enraptured in our own concerns that it becomes difficult to consider the plights of others. Some items, such as the shoes on our feet, become so customary to us in our highly stimulated lives and are subsequently taken for granted, while there are plenty of people out there who wish that they just had that one item to take for granted. Unlike us, they find themselves worrying about it every single day. We commend Shoes That Fit for coming up with an incredibly effective solution to a daily pain of our fellow American school children, as well as the pain of their parents who are constantly in a struggle to make ends meet.
In a piece about this tremendous organization, The National Enquirer reported a 12-year old girl saying, “Because my dad has to go where he can find work, my family moves a lot. It’s very hard going to a new school so often, and even harder making new friends. When I arrived at my new school, my mom learned about the Shoes That Fit program and I was given a whole set of new clothes and new shoes”. Just like this little girl, there are plenty of children out there wearing shoes that no longer fit them, or are too big for them. As a result, that child becomes so concerned with whether they will have to take their shoes off because they hurt, or if they will fall off because they are too big. Not only is this embarrassing for the child, but it also hinders their focus on what is being taught in school. In some cases, children don’t even have shoes at all. Without shoes, the kids are not allowed to attend school. A poor level of focus or a poor attendance level can really obstruct a child from a decent future. Properly fitting shoes provide the child dignity, hope, pride, and overall, it leaves them better prepared to learn and play with their peers.
The Shoes That Fit Organization, established in 1992 in Pomona, CA, supplies nearly 100,000 pairs of shoes to children in need across the United States each year, and helps over 1,600 schools. To date, the organization has delivered over 1,187,540 pairs of shoes. They are almost entirely run by volunteers, and less than 10% of their expenditures go to administrative fees.
-4 star ranking from Charity Navigator for 3 years running
-Named non-profit of the year by Claremont Chamber of Commerce in 2011 & 2012
-Harlequin’s More Than Words Winner 2009
-Smart Cookie Reader’s Choice Award Winner 2008 (sponsored by Cookie Magazine and Citi)
-Distinguished Service Award 2008 from the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Preventions Commission of San Bernardino County
-George Washington Medal of Honor by the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge for being “one of the best in the spirit of volunteerism in the country”
-Mitzvah Hero Award from the Ziv Tzedakah Fund
-Nominated by Family Circle Magazine for the “Good As Gold” Award (sponsored by Publisher’s Clearinghouse)
The Shoes That Fit slogan is short, sweet, and caring; “Shoes That Fit – Every Child Deserves Them”, and it sure holds true. Providing a child with comfortable shoes has improved attendance, attitude, self-esteem, behavior, academic performance, social interaction, and the participation in physical activities across the United States. All of these factors pave the way to a bright future for a child, and we can all agree that every child deserves a bright future.
The organization holds no qualms about whom they work with. They pair businesses, colleges, faith-based organizations, community service groups, and other organizations with schools in their local communities. Individuals may contribute online, by phone or mail, or with automatic monthly donations. One may also give through the United Way or payroll deductions at the workplace. Shoes That Fit may be found online at www.shoesthatfit.org — get in touch with your local chapter today.
With all of that being said, it is amazing how much the Shoes That Fit organization has shed light and national awareness on the number of children affected by poverty in their every day lives. It was an incredible opportunity, and we hope that many others participate after us. Remember, it’s more than just a pair of shoes.