In 2017, St. Kicks of Southern Illinois was an upstart charity that hoped to collect 20 pairs of new shoes it could give to children in a local school. Instead, St. Kicks collected 75 pairs, which it gave away to students in Benton, Marion and Carbondale.
In 2018, the agency collected 120 pairs of new shoes and added schools in Du Quoin and Anna to its list of recipients.
As 2019 winds down, the goal is 200 pairs of schools -- and the addition of two schools in Herrin and Johnston City.
To do that, St. Kicks has launched its third-annual "shoeraiser," collecting new, quality shoes for children.
For too many kids, owning a new, quality pair of shoes they can be proud of is just a dream. St. Kicks collaborates with communities to collect donated shoes, and then partners with social workers in the schools throughout southern Illinois to ensure these get onto the feet of the kids who really need them.
After all, kids grow rapidly. Keeping them in appropriate fitting footwear can be difficult.
Previously worn shoes or cheaply made shoes often do not provide the correct form and support that growing little feet need, but a new pair of shoes that these kids will be proud to wear is a real gift that lasts long after Christmas, as proper footwear affects the whole body and can have a long-term positive impact on their health into adulthood.
All the donations stay in southern Illinois and go to local children.
So, if you see a great deal on shoes while shopping, consider sharing that lucky find with a needy child. Purchase a new (preferably still in the box) pair of branded athletic shoes sized 1Y-14 Adult and then drop them off at any collection site in the area. For the list of donation sites, follow St. Kicks of Southern Illinois on Facebook.