Kids receive new shoes from TOMS

Published 7:00 am Saturday, July 12, 2014

NEW SHOES: A child is presented with a brand new pair os shoes by and IRC YouthBuild program.

NEW SHOES: A child is presented with a brand new pair os shoes by and IRC YouthBuild program.

Hundreds of Pearl River County children benefited from a partnership between International Relief and Development and TOMS Shoes.

Participants in the program, which included disadvantaged youth participating in the YouthBuild program, delivered thousands shoes to children in need in three states, making a stop in Pearl River County between June 9 to 20. Hundreds of those shoes were donated to children in this county.

IRD Manger of Finance and Administration Pamela Broussard said the shoes were provided to children 12 and younger at several community churches.

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Broussard said the aim is to battle childhood obesity by providing children in need with shoes they can use to become more active.

The shoes were provided by donations from TOMS Shoes, a company that typically donates shoes to children in foreign nations.

“Because there is a need overseas doesn’t mean there isn’t a need in the United States,” Broussard said.

Through church members, the children learned how to do jumping jacks, stretches and other exercises.

Many of the children IRD representatives met with were wearing hand me down shoes, Broussard said.

“A lot of kids we came across did not have good pairs of shoes,” Broussard said.

The shoe program was spearheaded by IRC’s youth program, which includes young adults aged 16 to 24-years-old. The group determined the sizes that were needed, placed the order and set up times and dates to deliver them.

Broussard said the YouthBuild program helps young people who may have fallen out of the traditional education system. Through this program they are now on track to earn their GED or learn a trade. Many of their participants have moved into the workforce or gone on to attend college, Broussard said. The program has been able to help 165 young adults in it six years of operation.