Why thousands of free shoes will walk through local schools tomorrow

Posted at 12:14 PM, Sep 07, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-07 16:16:28-04

RICHMOND, Va - What has become an annual Labor Day tradition in Richmond, Second Baptist Church at 3300 Broad Rock Boulevard gave away free shoes Monday.

Hundreds of families lined up outside the church, even before the sun came up, for the "Free Shoes for Back to School Ministry."

Monday morning, families touted sleeping bags and snacks around the building.  One family began camping out 2:00 Sunday afternoon.

Families lined up outside of

Families lined up outside of Second Baptist Church for the "Free Shoes for Back to School Ministry" event.

Every school aged child that showed up with a parent or guardian older than 18 got a free pair of shoes for the start of the school year.

"This begins a positive feeling inside that will translate outside to their school work," said Rita Willis, who's church helped found the program.

A coalition of 13 local churches and Saxon Shoes help collect the shoes throughout the year.  Organizers said they have more than 4,000 pairs this year.

shoes 4The program began 10 years ago at the historic Third Street Bethel AME Church.  That year, organizers passed out 712 pairs of shoes.  In the years since, they have given out more than 72,000 pairs.

As of 3:45 p.m. there were over 2700 shoes left.

The left over shoes will go to local school districts that have kids who need shoes. They will also donate the shoes to the needy and whoever else is in desperate need for shoes.

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