With each trip down the aisle, the smile on each child's face grew bigger. More than 100 kids and their families came to Payless ShoeSource Saturday to try and find the perfect pair of shoes to kickstart the new year.
"It's a blessing for our community to receive this grant once again," said Caddo Parish Schools Coordinator of Homeless Education Pittre Walker. "Often times people don't realize how many children need shoes."
The annual event called Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids Program, will help give over one million free shoes to children in need this holiday season. Volunteer Debria Jackson says she's thankful that our local shoe store is participating.
"I've seen so many kinds in the past that are having to come to school without shoes, or shoes that are torn or are flapping," Jackson says. "It's just exciting to see them smiling having something new."
However it's more than just getting a new pair of shoes because for many, it's about going back to school on the right foot.
"In the school system so many children are being bullied by you know the shoes they wear, or the clothes that they wear, and you see kids being talked about," Jackson adds. "So when they're coming to school in new shoes or shoes that they can feel comfortable in, it just makes a big difference."
Walker agrees, and adds there's always a need for more.
"We have about 1,700 children, so we really would hope that Payless in the future would give us more than 100 because we could really meet the needs of more children in our community."
No matter the reason, or the type of shoe, those who attended the day's event says they're just ready to takd the next step.
"We're very thankful," said Tony Battson. "It's kind of hard to say because most little kids need shoes. We don't want anybody running around without shoes."
This program, put on annually by Payless ShoeSource is put on in all 50 states, as well as Canada, Puerto Rico, and eleven Latin American countries.