Approximately 310 students from both the Logan County and Russellville school districts were fitted for shoes on Thursday thanks to the Russellville Rotary Foundation and its Happy Feet = Learning Feet program.
The Happy Feet program is now in its fifth year of providing a free pair of shoes to local school children who really need them. Some 1,197 pairs of free shoes have been given out to children over the past four years.
Jim Riley, project chairman for the Rotary Club, said that the 310 students that were referred to the program this year is more than the club has seen in the past.
Students are identified at their schools by the family resource directors.
They are able to pick from several different styles of shoe and will be given the pair of their choice in a few weeks.
“Our two school superintendents and the family resource personnel at the various schools have been wonderful to coordinate this project,” said Jim Riley, project chairman for the Rotary Club. “We wound up giving out pairs of shoes to the neediest young people and provided additional shoes throughout the year to those that the schools thought was in an emergency situation where they needed help.”
In addition to the Happy Feet program, the Rotary also started supporting a second, similar project three years - Project Warm.
Project Warm provided good winter coats to many of those same children.
Most of the money for the two programs comes through community donations.
One of the most impressive aspects of that program is that the children receiving the coats and shoes are not recognizable by them.
Riley said that this year there will be several different patterns of coats and shoes for the children to pick from.
“There was all kinds of patterns, so the kids won’t be stereotyped for having a free coat or free shoes,” Riley said.
It’s not too late to donate to the fund to help these local children.
All contributions will go directly to buying shoes and coats for needy children in the community and they are tax deductible.
If you would like to make a donation, it can be mailed to the Russellville Rotary Foundation, c/o Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC, CPAs, 167 South Main Street, Russellville, KY 42276.