RIVER FALLS, Wis.
Fifty children in the River Falls, Ellsworth and Spring Valley area have a new pair of athletic shoes thanks to Allina Health. They received the shoes as part of the New Shoes, Healthy Kids initiative that matched the new shoes with kids in need throughout the Allina Health service area, with about 50 pairs of shoes given away at River Falls Area Hospital on Saturday (April 26) morning.
An additional 250 pairs of shoes will be given away to children in western Wisconsin this summer in partnership with local organizations.
In total, 10,000 pairs of new athletic shoes and socks were distributed to kids in need over the weekend. Shoes were given away at 30 Allina Health locations throughout central Minnesota and western Wisconsin on Saturday, 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.
"We want to make sure that all kids have the equipment they need to be healthy and active," added Heather Logelin, foundation and community engagement director for River Falls Area Hospital, part of Allina Health. "If the cost of shoes is a barrier for kids to run, jump and play, we want to remove that barrier."
The recipients, ages six through 12, were identified by local schools and non-profit organizations. At all the New Shoes, Healthy Kids event locations, more than 1,200 Allina Health volunteers fitted the kids and helped them test their new shoes with active play.
Allina Health purchased the 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.