Students put best feet forward with program at Southwest
Fitting Our Future gives new socks, shoes to students
Lighting up children’s faces with a new pair of shoes and socks is a gift, and this gift was offered in an enormous way at Southwest Elementary School.
Jeff Payne, Southwest elementary principal, said in August, two parents, Rena Miles and Michelle Holt, who worked at Walmart, came to him to share their idea — Fitting Our Future — which provided each elementary student in Southwest a new pair of shoes and socks.
“They already had a plan to get the shoes and socks,” Payne said. “I was beyond excited to see this come to fruition.”
According to Payne, Miles and Holt immediately set their plan into action. They began developing fliers to go home with students asking permission and shoe size, setting a date of Nov. 2 to distribute shoes to students, gathering volunteers and fundraising.
“They had their work cut out for them to get this accomplished in
just two months,” Payne said. “They knew that the students needed the shoes before cold weather.”
Payne said on Nov. 2, nearly 30 volunteers helped fit Southwest elementary students with new shoes and socks.
“The excitement in the students’ faces was a sight to see,” Payne said. “I cannot tell you how many kids were showing off their new shoes to myself and anyone else near them.
“While taking pictures, I overheard a kindergarten girl say, ‘I’ve never had new shoes before.’ She was in awe of them and just so happy.”
Payne said Southwest Elementary cannot say thank you enough, to Miles, Holt, all of the volunteers, the donors Walmart and Wiggins, Inc., who provided a large amount of the shoes and money.
“Southwest Elementary may also be receiving up to $3,000 from Walmart’s VAP (Volunteerism Always Pays) program,” Payne said. “Every volunteer that helped and worked for Walmart would earn a certain amount of money — possibly $25 — for every hour he or she worked on the Fitting Our Future campaign.”
According to Payne, after documentation is submitted by the volunteers and the hours are approved, the money will be donated to Southwest.
“They actually brought more pairs than students and left the extras with our nurse,” Payne said. “I would guess at least 350 pairs [total were purchased].”