Soles for Christ
Program Description: A program that provides a new pair of shoes for children to start the school year.
Goal: To boost the child’s self-esteem and enthusiasm for the coming school year and provide parents with some monetary relief in covering the initial expenses associated with the new school year.
Receiving Assistance: Services are not based on income. Eligibility is based on where the child resides. Children in preschool through 12th grade living in Buchanan and Andrew counties in Missouri are eligible to receive a free pair of new tennis shoes. In 2014, Doniphan County, Kansas was added to the eligibility area.
The program began in August of 2003 when a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church visited an out-of-town parish where the Soles for Christ Shoe program was already implemented. The member was a schoolteacher and recognized the need within our own community and saw an opportunity for action. Their church began collecting shoes, then contacted our agency and asked if we would be the distribution center for them.
|Year||# Children received shoes||$ Value|
The first year 210 pairs of school shoes were distributed. Each year a few more churches, individuals, businesses and organizations join the endeavor by donating shoes. Beginning in June, everyone starts collecting new shoes and delivers them to the agency. In mid-August just before school begins, agency staff and volunteers distribute the shoes over a two-day period. Every child that comes to the distribution receives shoes. There is no pre-registration. If the correct size of shoes is not available for a child, volunteers actually go shop to purchase any missing sizes and get them to the children.
In 2016, 1106 children from 448 households received a new pair of shoes helping ease the financial burden of the children returning to school.