Carson City students in need will receive a new pair of shoes this week through the Children In Transition’s Step Into Spring Shoe Drive.
“By the time the winter’s over, shoes have been through the mill,” said Peggy Sweetland, special-projects coordinator for the Carson City School District. “They’ve been through puddles and snow and all kinds of weather. Shoes just don’t last a whole year.”
Through the Children in Transition program — which serves students living in motels, cars or campgrounds or doubling up with other families — Sweetland purchased 340 pairs of shoes to be distributed to children in elementary through high schools.
Representatives from each school picked up the shoes for their students Monday from Big 5 Sporting Goods. The shoes will be distributed discreetly at each site.
“They look forward to it every year,” said Dan Brown, vice principal at Fremont Elementary School. “These shoes will carry them through the rest of the year. They get all excited about it. The parents too.”
Although the high school students are sometimes reluctant to participate, the program does more than provide shoes, said Bob Chambers, dean of students at Carson High School.
“If you don’t have the basic requirements, if you’re worried where your next meal is coming from or that your shoes are falling apart, it’s pretty hard to focus on your academics,” he said. “All those things affect test scores and student performance.”
Sweetland said she had to deplete much of the program’s funds for the shoe drive and is hoping to recoup those expenses, especially before next school year. She said the program has 442 students enrolled and has served 537 over the course of the school year.
As the registration for the program moves online next year, Sweetland said, she expects the numbers to increase.
“My guess is it may double,” she said. “We are going to need shoes in the worst way by the beginning of next year. We are wiped out.”