It isn’t the holiday season at Daniel Webster School 46 without the annual Shoe Day that finds hundreds of students getting a brand-new pair of kicks.
The 35th annual Shoe Day returned on Dec. 10 at the school after a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19. Representatives from Kroger, the Indiana Pacers, and Shoe Carnival were on hand in the school gym for the annual event.
Kroger donates a new pair of shoes and a new pair of socks to each student at the school. The Pacers donate a toy to each student. Shoe Carnival provides volunteers to help the students with the selection and fitting of shoes.
“This is just like Christmas for our kids,” said Koretta Thomas, a social worker at the school who assisted students in finding their way the stacks of shoeboxes, piles of socks, and mounds of backpacks.
“I have six children and one grandchild, so I know how much it costs to put shoes on their feet,” she said. “We are working to make Christmas better for everyone by providing shoes so that families can spend money on other necessities.”
“Without Shoe Day, many of the students would not have new shoes,” said Ramone Edmundson, the assistant principal at Daniel Webster who wears a size 15.
“I’ve been involved in Shoe Day for the past nine years and we always have a lot of fun,” Edmundson said. “It shows to the kids how important it is to give back. And, our students regularly come back to help out. We have alums who come back to run the scoreboards at games and help out in the front office. We’ve hired four alums to our staff. They know how important it is to give back to the community.”
The school administrator joined the associates of Kroger, the Pacers, and Shoe Carnival during the daylong event, which brought smiles the day brings to the students’ faces.
“I was taught from an early age—through my grandparents—about the mearing of giving back,” said Eddie Gill, who played for the Pacers from 2004-06 and now is a game analyst for the team on Bally Indiana Sports. “We didn’t have a whole lot growing up in New Jersey, but our grandparents would have us make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the homeless.”
“Today, we are having a great time,” he said. “This partnership is a great opportunity to give back and anytime we can get the kids to smile, it’s fun.”