No Small Feat
Payless, Boys And Girls Clubs Provide Shoes To Kids
Posted: January 28, 2013
Gracin VanFosson, 7, of Timberville, tries on a pair of running shoes at Payless Shoe Source in the Harrisonburg Crossing shopping center on Saturday. Members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County were given $20 coupons to purchase new shoes through a grant awarded by the footwear company. (Photos by Michael Reilly / DN-R)
Meghn Parr (left), a sales associate at the store, helps Ayshiya Siler, 6, of Elkton, pick out a pair of shoes.
Lori Kizner (bottom center), Boys and Girls Clubs of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County board member, checks out the new shoes on Josi Shifflett,7, (left) and her sister, Chloe, 9, while their mother, Jessica Humphrey holds her son Jakob, 16 months. Mike Matthews (back left), Payless Shoes district manager, Bill Carter (left), Boys and Girls Clubs executive director, and Geo Bonilla (back center), Boys and Girls Clubs director of operations, watch.
Toya Siler laughs when she thinks about how often her young children need new shoes.
“I’m buying shoes every other month or so,” the Elkton resident said.
The cost adds up, but on Saturday, Siler’s daughters Niyonna, 4, and Ayshiya, 6, got to pick up some new kicks at Payless Shoe Source in Harrisonburg free of charge.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County secured a grant through the retailer that provided the nonprofit organization with 50 $20 coupons for its members in need.
This was the first time the local club received the grant, and on Saturday the Payless at Harrisonburg Crossing opened from 8 to 10 a.m. exclusively to Boys and Girls Clubs members. Staff measured the kids’ feet and helped them pick out shoes.
“There’s nothing like a new pair of shoes,” said Boys and Girls Executive Director Bill Carter. “They got the royal treatment.”
Need ‘Very Strong’
Geo Bonilla, director of operations for the Boys and Girls Clubs, said the need in the community is “very strong.”
“The way the economy is, making sure kids have a nice pair of shoes is huge,” he said. “Kids outgrow shoes quickly.”
The significance of the gesture wasn’t lost on children who participated in the program, Bonilla said.
“I don’t think they take it for granted,” he said. “They know they’re getting blessed.”
Jessica Humphrey said that not only do kids’ shoes have a short lifespan, but more than one variety is needed for different uses, such as boots and tennis shoes.
Her daughters, Chloe Shifflett, 9, and Jose Shifflett, 7, who attend the club at South River Elementary School in Grottoes, each picked up a pair on Saturday.
“It’s great to be able to get a new pair of shoes without having to worry about the money,” she said, “especially right after Christmas.”
Contact Jeremy Hunt at 574-6273 or email@example.com