Students receive new shoes, encouragement from nonprofit

by: Natalie Pasquarella Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - With their wash cloths in hand, volunteers showed up at J.T. Williams Middle School with a mission to help local students not only get new kicks, but also receive some encouragement.

"I think they're nice. Better than my old ones; they were all dirty and stuff," said student Lindsey Romero.

"I think it's more important to show them hope today. It's really not about the shoe, but it's about what we provide today," said Right Choices case manager Shawn Jackson.

More than 90 students got new shoes Friday, thanks to Samaritan's Feet, a nonprofit that provides shoes to millions of children and adults across the world.

IMAGES: Samaritan's Feet comes to Charlotte

The kids receiving the new shoes are enrolled in the Right Choices program, which is a six-week alternative schooling program within Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

"It is an alternative school, so people really don't think about us much, so it's awesome that kids will have the opportunity to get shoes today," Jackson said.

Jackson said the children need to hear positive messages more than ever. That's the goal Friday: to engage and inspire the kids.

"Asking them what their dreams are, what their struggles are, what their challenges are, and what opportunities they have to go out and accomplish their dreams," said Manny Ohonme, CEO and founder of Samaritan's Feet.

Ohonme hopes every child walks out of here feeling good about the new shoes and a new outlook.

"The greatest joy to me is when you see young boys and girls walk out of this room with smiles, to know that we've done something to remind them that you are a valued member of our community," Ohonme said.

Since 2003, Samaritan's Feet has provided shoes to more than four million children in more than 60 nations.

For more information about Samraritan's Feet, click here.