CHARLOTTE, N.C. — At Statesville Road Elementary School in north Charlotte, hundreds of students each received a new pair of sneakers Wednesday.
The school was selected by Samaritans Feet as part of their National Day of Service campaign. The non-profit organization has been hosting events just like this one all across the country this week in honor of MLK’s Day of Service.
Wednesday, students entered their school’s gymnasium to applause.
“As the kids enter, we already have all of their names, all of their shoe sizes, they’re greeted by my wonderful volunteers," said Shannon Harris, Associate Director of Missions at Samaritans Feet.
Each student was paired with one of more than 40 volunteers, who then took off the kids' old shoes and washed the students' feet.
“It’s just a very intimate moment one-on-one with that child because as I shared with the volunteers earlier, we don’t know what the story is when they go home," Harris said. "Because we don’t know, we want to greet them with a smile, with a high-five, with a pound and let them know they are loved and they are special and that we are so excited to give them a new pair of shoes today."
Samaritan’s Feet inspires hope in young children through the gift of a new pair of shoes. Since its founding in 2003, the organization says it has gifted more than 7 million pairs.
Wednesday, they selected Statesville Road Elementary to gift 500 more.
“Its positive self-esteem, its education," Harris said. "Many kids don’t come to school because they don’t have a pair of shoes or it’s not a new pair of shoes and so for us it brings hope, it gives the confidence they need."
We asked one of the students how excited they were to have just received a new pair of shoes. Her response: “very, very, very happy, super happy!”