A Simon Kenton students’ shoes were so worn that volunteers barely had to try to pull them apart. His socks — just as tattered and dirty.
Ashley Wilson, the Lead Nurse for the Springfield City School District said it’s a problem she sees all the time.
“It’s a need that most people don’t even realize we have,” she said.
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That’s why she and other staff in the school district are thankful that Shoes 4 the Shoeless will be visiting all the elementary schools in the district over the next few months to distribute brand new shoes and socks to kids.
Shoes 4 the Shoeless is a nonprofit that gives the items to children in need in the Dayton area. Cedarville University nursing faculty and students have partnered with the group, along with volunteers from all over the area — Mercy Health, the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office and even the Springfield High School Football Team and ROTC students. Everyone pitched in to fit kids for new shoes at Simon Kenton Elementary last week.
Senior Wide Receiver Moses Douglass spent the day measuring students’ feet and helping them find a new pair of shoes from bags and bags of options. He said he hoped by volunteering, the team made an impact on the kids.
There were countless little faces that lit up when they were escorted to a chair by the high school students many of them look up to.
“Giving back to the community is one of the things we always like doing,” he said. “We’re already playing for the community — we got them on our backs. We might as well give back (to them) too.”
Simon Kenton Elementary Principal Amy Paul said a local church near the school has been generous enough to fill several needs including clothes and coats — but shoes have always been a need that’s been hard to meet.
“Our students, most of them walk. They’re walking through all kinds of weather, and those shoes fall apart,” she said. “To see the smiles, the high fives — there have been several fifty yard dashes run in there… It’s just amazing.”
Shoes 4 the Shoeless has delivered more than 50,000 pairs of shoes and socks to date in the Dayton area.
Shoes 4 the Shoeless also visited Kenwood Elementary las week. The nonprofit will head to Fulton Elementary on Nov. 9.