By Alida Donnelly
February 13, 2018
The United Way and REACHH Family Center have partnered up to donate shoes to children in need. The United Way of Southern West Virginia has partnered with REACHH Family Center in Hinton to be a part of their Equal Footing Shoe Program.
"The entire goal of the program is to help break down barriers to learning in the classroom, which aren't necessarily always, you know, teachers and students not being able to connect, but sometimes it's the student thinking about where they're going to sleep that night, or the next time they're going to eat, and how cold their toes might be coming into school this morning walking through the snow, " Christina Cowley, Americorps Vista United Way, said.
67 pairs of shoes were given to REACHH Family Center. The shoes come from the United Way Shoe Drive and sales. They prefer new athletic shoes in any size from infant to men's 13. And they're excited for the partnership.
"I think it's just going to be a great partnership so we can, if we see a child that needs shoes, then we have them right here, and we can do a self referral. We can let the United Way know that we've identified a child with need and we're going to give them a pair of shoes, " Beth Sizemore, Executive Director of REACHH Family Resource Center, said.
Providing kids with basic needs helps them in the classroom.
"If a child is cold and hungry and sleepy, they're not going to be able to lean in the classroom, doesn't matter how great their teacher is. So if we can get all of those basic needs met, then they can start the day ready to learn, " Beth Sizemore said.
Another student received shoes a few weeks ago and his reaction is the reason why the United Way does this.
"The secretary called over the intercom for the student to come down to the office, and he walked in and looked kind of worried. She was like oh no don't worry, you're not in trouble. Remember when I asked you your shoe size last week, he was like yeah. She said well I know they don't fit real well so we got you a new pair of shoes. She said do you want to take them and put them in your locker, and he was like no I'm going to put them on right now. And he took off his old shoes, threw them in the trash, and put them on immediately, " Christina Cowley said.
The United Way has distributed 220 pairs of shoes so far this year. And their goal for the year is to donate over 2 thousand shoes. If you have a new pair of shoes that you want to donate, you can drop them off at the United Way's office in Beckley. It's at 110 Croft Street, Beckley, WV 25801