Katie Lowther and her three kids made the move from Hawaii’s Big Island to Rosemead, Calif. a couple of years ago. As a single parent working two jobs, she has managed to get by.
“I think it’s great to have someone in the community that cares,” said Lowther. “This community needs more people to help when help is needed.”
Opening their brand-new boxes in the school’s cafetaria, Lowther’s daughters — Annabell, 9, and Abrieanna, 6 — got a chance to try on their new shoes donated by employees at Edison International through Shoes That Fit.
“I like them. I like pink and purple,” said Abrieanna, as she tried on her brightly colored new sneakers. “I’m going to wear them every day.”
Edison International employees recently visited the school to hand deliver the shoes to the 30 kids they sponsored between the ages of 4 and 12. When the call went out asking for shoe donations, all of the slots were filled within a couple of days.
Bee Martin, an executive assistant at Edison International and one of the organizers of the recent Shoes That Fit donation, said it was the first time their employee-giving group had worked with the nonprofit. The experience made her want to do it again.
“Athletic shoes are a bare necessity for children to stay active and healthy so they can focus in class,” said Martin. “It is an easy way to help families who may not have the resources to buy enough shoes for their child.”
Founded in 1992, Shoes That Fit has provided more than 1.4 million pairs of shoes to kids in need. The nonprofit believes that children who go to school in comfortable shoes that fit benefit from an increase in self-esteem and academic productivity.
Christina Espinal, a first-grade teacher at Savannah Elementary, sees firsthand the positive results the new shoes have on her students.
“It builds their self-confidence,” said Espinal, who has taught three of the children who received shoes from the Edison International donation. “If they feel comfortable in their shoes, they feel good about themselves.”
The school has received donations from Shoes That Fit before and she is grateful that so many are willing to help the kids who may not be able to afford new shoes.
“You don’t know how happy it makes them,” said Espinal.
In total, 13 girls and 17 boys went home with new shoes.
Phyllis Gonzalez, an Edison International executive assistant who helped present the shoes to the kids, believes it’s important to give back to the community.
“It’s a great cause and I believe in it so strongly,” she said. “It has a positive effect on the kids and this helps the kids learn.”