Urban League gives free school shoes to hundreds of students
A big group of Hamilton County students is going to be putting their best foot forward this school year.
Over 800 kids registered for the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga’s 4th annual Shoes for School event, giving away free tennis shoes to students.
“We hopefully will equip them with everything they need to start out on the right foot,” Urban League CEO Warren Logan said.
A new school year means stocking up on all the essentials. But Logan says for many families, even buying the basics isn’t simple.
"Everybody needs shoes,” he said. “And too many kids we found out did not have adequate shoes in terms of their school-wear.”
Logan says the Urban League got inspired to find a solution a few years ago. They started partnering with local organizations to give as many kids as possible a new pair of shoes each August. Their goal is as simple as the need it meets.
"Find out how many kids are in need of shoes at the beginning of the school year,” Logan said. “To give them a boost as well as to give them some encouragement as far as the school year is concerned."
This year brought out hundreds of parents like Leah Blackburn.
"To get the shoes!” she said. “And to be able to have something, they were so excited just to know that they were going to get a pair, not even knowing what they were going to be."
Blackburn saw pairs of shoes that cost upwards of $60 handed out to kids Saturday. She says knowing the difference that money can make struck a chord.
"At the end of the day, we're all parents, period. And we all share the same struggle just trying to make sure our kids are happy and well taken care of,” Blackburn said.
The Blackburn kids each left with a new pair of shoes so they can put their best foot forward for the school year.
"It's a self-esteem booster. If you walk into school, your shoes look good, you look good,” Blackburn said. “You have a smile on your face and you have some pep in your step.”
The Urban League had more than 800 kids registered for Shoes for School this year. That number was just 200 when they got started four years ago.