MADISON COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — We all want to feel good, and a snazzy new pair of shoes typically helps. For some Kentucky families, however, sneakers before the start of a new school year might not be in the budget.
But in Madison County, a national organization is helping students take one step closer to confidence. This year, shoes of all sizes and styles will be available for kids, thanks to Samaritan’s Feet.
Educators spent the morning packing bags with a pair of shoes, filling 250 in total. According to regional director Denise Blomberg, the pandemic forced Samaritan’s Feet to pivot from their typical way of delivering shoes to kids in person. Instead, the shoes will be available at 13 lockers inside Family Resource Centers at schools across the county, for directors to pass out at their discretion.
“Studies show when kids feel good about the way they look, they perform better,” Blomberg said. “And what better foundation to start, than with their shoes?”
Volunteers estimate about 1,500 students in Madison County are in need of a pair of shoes each year. That includes elementary students, all the way up to high schoolers. They say to a child in need, a pair of brand new sneakers can represent so much more.
“Even in the elementary, pre-school ages, you know they come to school and their soles are flapping, or there's holes in them, or they are hand-me-downs from siblings,” said Traci McIntosh, a Family Resource Center director. “To have their own pair of shoes is very special.”
Each tote bag will also include a special note, hygiene kit and socks.
This week, Samaritan’s Feet is headed to Paintsville, Pikeville and Johnson County school districts.
Former EKU baseball head coach Edwin Thompson first brought a partnership with Samaritan's Feet to Madison County in 2017. Their shoe distribution has become an annual event.