When Gavin came to the school office to get new shoes last week, he was wearing a size 61Ú2. His foot really measures a size 8.
"They were kind of small," he said as he slipped on his new tennis shoes. "These are more comfortable."
Kim Riggs, director of the Children in Transition Program for the Carson City School District, said Gavin's situation is not unique.
She said she often sees children wearing worn-out shoes that are too small.
"It makes education a little bit hard when you can't concentrate because you're wearing a size 61Ú2 when you should be in an 8," Riggs said.
That's why part of her program focuses on providing needy students with new socks and shoes through an annual Easter Shoe Drive with Payless Shoe Source.
Autumn Smith, store manager, tries to coincide the store's buy-one-get-one-half off shoe sale with the drive.
"Luckily the sale just started and will go all the way through until March 29," she said. "It will be just perfect."
She will also give an extra 10 percent off the first pair.
Riggs delivers tags to the store outlining the ages of the children and their shoe size. Patrons can choose a tag and buy a pair of shoes for that child.
Smith hopes to collect 800 pairs. So far, she has about 20.
"I really encourage people to buy more than one pair or even socks," Smith said. "It's like a little Easter present for them. We have the cutest purses and sunglasses and hair ties."
Smith has participated in the program for five years now.
"Most of these kids, these are the only pair of shoes they get all year," she said. "I have children myself. If I couldn't afford to get them shoes that would just crush me.
"And these kids don't have a choice the circumstances they're born into. They need our help."
Smith said she and other associates will also help patrons pick out shoes that are in fashion with the child's age group.
Once the shoes are purchased, Riggs picks them up to deliver to the individual schools.
She brought a pair to James, 11, on Wednesday.
"They're stylin'," James said. "They're designed for skateboards. And when Kim gives them to us she laces them up personally designed to the way we like them."
Contact Teri Vance at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 881-1272.