03 June 2014

It's a sad fact – for many families in our community, a new pair of school shoes is often a “luxury” and not a necessity. Some families simply cannot afford to replace shoes as often as needed, but a new program launched by The Salvation Army in Puyallup will begin to address this problem.

Each month, the “Shoes For Kids” program, which began in April, distributes 40 Payless Shoes gift cards (valued at $25 each, for a total of $1,000) to one of the schools in Pierce County. The cards – purchased using funds collected through the Red Kettles at Christmas and supplemented by private donations – are then distributed free-of-charge to needy children. Major Premek Kramerius of The Salvation Army in Puyallup, WA, is managing the project. “We are working with the school's teachers and staff, so the neediest students will be identified to receive one of the gift cards,” said Major Kramerius. He added that additional cards will also be given for each of the student's siblings ages 18 and under.

The first batch of cards was distributed to Zeiger Elementary School in Puyallup, and counselor Annie McCabe worked closely with The Salvation Army to maximize the impact of the unexpected gift. “This was a complete surprise for us. It's not every day that someone calls and says ‘I have something for you to give out to your kids and it's totally free’” said McCabe.

Among those selected was a child whose toes were sticking out of holes in his worn tennis shoes and another who was wearing shoes three sizes too large (in the hope that the shoes would not wear out as fast as he grew into them). “I cannot express the look on their faces when I gave them the shoes…pure happiness. One of the boys left my office wearing his new tennis shoes –they looked so nice!” added McCabe.

Knowing that some families might not be able to get to Payless due to work schedules and other conflicts, the staff members at Zeiger Elementary also arranged to shop on the family’s behalf and distributed the shoes directly to the students.

We Can't Do It Without You!

The continued work of The Salvation Army relies on the generosity of donors like you. Your donations throughout the year, enable us to provide much needed services and programs, whether it is helping communities recover from disasters, sending kids to summer camp or providing new shoes for school-age children like the Puyallup community kids. Your donations help us to make a difference in the lives others within your community every day of the year. Click Here to make a donation and thank you for your support!