'Christmas doesn't compare to this'

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Wearing a pink sweatshirt over a pink T-shirt Wednesday, 7-year-old Citlaly picked out the pair of shoes she wanted. They were white with sparkly pink straps.

"I like the color," she explained. "They're pretty."

About 300 students in the Carson City School District's Kids in Transition program will receive new shoes this week at Big 5 Sporting Goods.

"It's been excellent. We have a system down now," said Kids in Transition Coordinator Jeannette Famoso, who started handing out the shoes Tuesday and will continue today. "The kids are just having a blast."

In the three years Famoso has coordinated the program, she has worked with Big 5 for special pricing and assistance from sales associates.

"We feel that it's important to help out where we can," said store manager Scott Norris. "It's a real great feeling to see the kids get a pair of shoes that fit, that look good and the kids like. It's very rewarding for my staff."

The shoe program is paid for through community and church donations as well as some grant funding, Famoso said. Students are allowed to choose any shoe that is $30 or less.

John, 14, an eighth-grader at Carson Middle School, chose a pair of brown Dickies in a size smaller than the shoes he's been wearing for the past year.

"These ones are too big," he said. "The new ones actually fit better. They look better and they feel better."

Brandi, 12, was less concerned with style than with function.

"I want some that are good to run in," she said, choosing a pair of all-white Asics running shoes. "I think I'll get these because I like the support on the bottom."

Her grandmother, Gail, was happy with them as well.

"It makes the kids happy and saves some money, too," she said.

About 400 students in the Carson City School District qualify for the Kids In Transition program. They are those living in hotels, motels, campgrounds, with grandparents or doubling up with other families.

Employees helped about 200 students Tuesday and Wednesday and are expected to help 100 more today.

"I really enjoy it," said sales associate Dean Wildman. "This is our busiest time of the year. Christmas doesn't compare to this."

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