For more than a decade, WIBH Radio in Anna has raised awareness of child abuse and neglect in southern Illinois, and each winter it partners with area child service agencies to raise money to buy children's coats through the New Coats, New Hope Campaign.
This April, as part of Child Abuse Prevention Month, the radio station will partner with those same local agencies on the new "Warm Soles, New Hope" campaign to provide new shoes for children in need.
Shoes will be distributed through the Children's Medical and Mental Health Resource Network in Anna, Arrowleaf in Vienna, and all Southern Seven Head Start locations, to kids affected by abuse, neglect, disaster and family need. No paperwork or proof of income is required to receive a pair of shoes.
Nearly 20% of southern Illinois children live in poverty and shoes that fit well are an essential item every day.
"We are fortunate to live in a community that cares about the needs of others," said Moury Bass, co-owner of WIBH. "That's why we are using the voice of WIBH radio to let our listeners know that there are children in Southern Illinois who need new shoes."
The campaign's goal for 2022 is $3,000, which will buy 200 pairs of shoes.
Like the coat drive, the shoes -- sizes 6 toddler to 4 kids -- will be bought via the nonprofit Operation Warm, whose Warm Soles program was started in 2020 to buy shoes that inspire confidence and encourage outdoor play. The program is only two years old, but more than 30,000 pairs of shoes have already been distributed in the U.S.
To sponsor a pair of shoes costs just $15, but any monetary contribution is appreciated. Donate by check or money order payable to Operation Warm and sent to WIBH Radio, Attn: Moury Bass, 330 S. Main St., Anna, IL 62906. You can also donate online at www.operationwarm.org/wibh. Deadline to donate is May 7, 2020.
Postal Pal in Anna will donate the shipping of the shoes to allow 100% of all donations to go directly to buying them. Other area businesses are also partnering with WIBH to keep coat costs low. Shawnee Mass Transit District in Vienna and Anna will help deliver shoes to their distribution sites, while T&I Office Equipment in Anna is donating the printing of flyers used in outreach. Businesses and organizations requesting flyers should contact Moury at the radio station for delivery or pickup.
For more information, or to request a pair of shoes for a child in need, contact Moury Bass at WIBH at (618) 697-0134 or Shawnna Rhine at Southern Seven Head Start at (618) 634-2297, ext. 9161; or visit the WIBH Warm Soles, New Hope Campaign on Facebook. To learn more about Operation Warm, visit operationwarm.org.