All 478 students at Hanh Phan Tilley Elementary School got a new pair of tennis shoes Thursday morning, putting smiles on the faces of the young learners.

“A lot of our kids don’t have shoes or they have hand-me-downs or they have shoes that have holes in them. So they’re going to be super excited to get a brand new pair of shoes.” — Tilley Elementary School secretary Dawn Pieretti

Group Helps 131,000 Children a Year

The shoes were distributed at the Central Unified school in collaboration with Shoes That Fit, a national nonprofit that says it helps more than 131,000 children annually.

School secretary Dawn Pieretti explained that the budgets of many of the school’s families are stretched thin, leaving little or no money for shoes and clothing.

“A lot of our kids don’t have shoes or they have hand-me-downs or they have shoes that have holes in them,” Pieretti said. “So they’re going to be super excited to get a brand new pair of shoes.”

(Click on the video above.)

About Shoes That Fit

The Shoes That Fit website describes the group’s beginning:

“In 1992, in Claremont, California, Elodie (Silva) McGuirk heard the story of a child’s need for new shoes. A little boy came in the classroom crying that his feet hurt. His shoes were way too small and his parents had actually turned his toes under, shoved them into the shoes, laced them up and sent him to school like that.

“When Elodie asked what the woman did when she saw that, she said she massaged his feet, put his shoes back on and sent him back to class. Aghast at why the woman didn’t just buy him a new pair of shoes, she said, ‘We have hundreds of kids like him. We wouldn’t know where to start.’ “

“Galvanized to take action, Elodie posted on a bulletin board and engaged her coworkers at Harvey Mudd College to help deliver shoes to kids in need at that school in Pomona.

“Thus, Shoes That Fit was born.”

 

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