Provided by House of Mercy
The eighth annual school shoe distribution took on a new life this year. The event was moved to a full day on Saturday, July 29, 2017. The timing for the event worked well. It was early enough so that parents did not feel compelled to purchase shoes at stores for their children in the last few weeks of summer. Supplies, rent, or utilities are what the money they would have spent will be used for instead.
The goal this year was a minimum of 125 pairs of shoes. House of Mercy distributed 144 pairs to their client children. This was above the minimum, but below their goal of 200 pairs of children’s shoes.
With the help of the generous grant from the Giving Circle of Heritage Hunt, the “Shoes for Kids” program is now in its eighth year of providing new shoes to children who live in Manassas, Manassas Park, Nokesville, Bristow, and Gainesville. House of Mercy (HOM) makes the shoes available as part of their aid programs. HOM clients must take at least one class in subjects such as Money Management, ESL, GED Math, or Cooking/Nutrition in order to qualify for the shoes. Executive Director Ann Cimini states, “We want to make sure the parents who take a class are rewarded.”
The new academic year provides a chance for kids to shed old reputations and reinvent themselves. Beginning as early as third grade, or as young as eight years of age, children become very aware of the “cool factor” of shoes. Those suffering from ill-fitting or dilapidated shoes are often targeted and ridiculed for their shoes. As a result, they often choose to cut class to escape the shame and embarrassment. In addition to comfort, having a nice pair of shoes will reduce bullying, improve school attendance, and boost a child’s self-esteem. A simple pair of new shoes can be life changing for a child.