Allina Health is distributing 10,000 pairs of new athletic shoes and socks to kids in need so they are able to run, play and go to school with pride. The New Shoes, Healthy Kids event will occur at 30 Allina Health locations throughout central Minnesota and Western Wisconsin on April 26.
"Shoes are a basic necessity that many kids in our communities lack. Not only does this inhibit their ability to run and play, it also affects their ability to focus in school. Giving kids in need a pair of shoes that fit eliminates these concerns, and also protects their feet," said Eric Barth, MD, an Allina Health pediatrician.
The recipients, ages six through 12, were identified by local schools and non-profit organizations. At the New Shoes, Healthy Kids event, more than 1,200 Allina Health volunteers at 30 Allina Health locations throughout the Allina Health service area will fit them and help them test their new shoes with active play.
"Shoes are a unique donation to students but sincerely needed. Teachers notice students in worn and ill-fitting shoes on a regular basis. At my school, we store spare shoes just so students can take gym class," said Scott Taylor, principal of Park Brook Elementary School in Brooklyn Park.
Allina Health purchased 10,000 pairs of athletic shoes through a partnership with the Two Ten Foundation, The Jay Group Ltd. and Keds. Through these partnerships, the average cost of a pair of new athletic shoes to Allina Health was six dollars—less than 50 percent of wholesale cost.
"We are thrilled to help Allina Health with New Shoes, Healthy Kids. The footwear industry has mobilized unlike any other in the U.S. with a national program called Footwear Cares that will touch tens of thousands of families this month," said Neal Newman of the Two Ten Foundation.
In addition to the pre-matched shoes, up to an additional 1,000 pairs of shoes will be distributed on a first come, first served basis on Saturday, April 26, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at Allina Health headquarters in the Midtown Exchange, Chicago Avenue and Lake Street, Minneapolis. Adults with children in need between the ages of six and 12 are encouraged to come to the Midtown Exchange to be fitted for a free pair of new athletic shoes.