Several hundred local children get free shoes
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - The latest Census Bureau stats show one in six Americans living in poverty, but in Hamilton County, it's higher at one in four families struggling to get by.
Sunday around 700 local families got their children free shoes and socks. With weather getting cooler, many parents say this shoe distribution at Chattanooga's Scottish Rite was a saving grace.
"We came down here all of us as a family to get new shoes," student Ziom Butler said.
The line wrapped around the building. Teachers in Hamilton County and north Georgia recommended each child for the program. One by one, several hundred kids picked the look and fit for them.
"Not too tight. Not too nothing. It's just right," student Mason Hall said.
"I'm wearing something and I do not know, but it's cool," student Jadon Roberts said.
They walked out with smiles on their faces and a sense of pride.
"Pretty awesome. They're blue and white and black-- my favorite colors," student Beth Hall said.
"My youngest is out there like see my new shoes," parent April Chapman said.
Parents like April Chapman say they're thankful to have that expense taken off of them. "I appreciate this place doing this because I can't afford good supportive shoes," she said.
Chattanooga Scottish Rite says it takes a year of planning and donations to provide this help. "If you look at a lot of the children coming in, their shoes are worn out and when you go to school, other kids look at you and we want them to feel just like the other kids," organizer Bobby Green said.
They say as the need increases, they'll keep trying to help low-income families as best they can. They're planning another shoe distribution in January.