Hundreds of Needy Children Receive Free Shoes


Hundreds of needy children are getting new shoes just in time for Christmas.

A local shelter and national chain have partnered to make it happen before; but instead of the 25 kids that got shoes last year, 200 children will receive them this year.
Brandy Guerrero was looking for shoes for her daughter Kamaya.
"Maybe a pair of boots because she likes getting in the snow even though we tell her not to," she said.
Payless ShoeSource is footing the bill for her and 199 other local children. Seventy-seven alone came to Sunday's event.
"At one point you could hardly walk in the store," said Rhonda Smallwood, development director at Hope Harbor.
"It's crazy," said Hope Harbor Case Management Program Manager Sadie Nielsen. "I helped many of them find pairs of shoes that fit them, so they're all happy and excited they got new pairs of shoes."
It means even more to parents like Guerrero.
"It's an awesome feeling because I'm a single mom," she said. "I'm struggling to get up on my feet."
Guerrero said after about a year living at the Hope Harbor shelter, she's almost there thanks to financial planning classes and help like these new shoes for her daughter.
"That's an extra $20-25 that we can use to put towards bills, past bills or to save for getting new housing," she said.
"The parents don't expect to be where they are, but the kids really don't expect to be where they are," said Smallwood.
Hope Harbor helped 530 children between January and October this year. Smallwood said she's still shocked by that number.
"It's amazing to me that there are so many children that need," she said.
There are still more than 100 vouchers for free shoes available. Applications can be obtained at Hope Harbor's Division Street location.