“They feel good,” the first-grader said about his new pair of blue Converse sneakers after he stood up, still staring at them.
Angel was one of 47 kindergarten through sixth-grade students of El Centro’s Hedrick Elementary School who participated in the “Shoes That Fit” program during their field trip to Rack Room Shoes on Tuesday in the Imperial Valley Mall.
Shoes That Fit is a national program that provides new shoes to children in need at school, program manager Lee Kane said.
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“We do that by matching up sponsoring groups with schools in our communities, that’s our mission,” she said of the Claremont-based program.
She said Shoes That Fit gathers various sponsors around the country to aid needy children and Rack Room Shoes has been helping them since 2007.
“The headquarters contacted me, we filled out the paperwork, they sent us the gift cards and now we’re choosing shoes for our kids,” Hedrick Principal Rauna Fox said as she helped her students pick out shoes at the store.
Fox said the school received $1,350, which translated into one pair of new shoes and new socks per student.
Fox and school staff brought groups of children to and from the mall all day.
“On the way here some of the students had said they had only been to the mall one time in their life and that their shoes were old and they were glad to get new shoes,” she said.
“It’s really fun,” pupil supervisor Marvel Saasta said. “I drove them over here and we were singing Christmas songs.”
And the children enjoyed their new kicks.
“They’re good. They feel nice,” 9-year-old second-grader Jessica Escobar said of her tie-dyed “Rocket Dog” shoes.
“I like the colors,” 6-year-old first-grader Jacklyn Perry said of her star-spangled/multi-colored “Sporty Shorty” Sketchers.
“I like shoe stores because they look pretty,” she said.
Staff Writer Roman Flores can be reached at 760-337-3439 or firstname.lastname@example.org