RICHMOND, Va. - Thousands of people came out on Labor Day for the 10th annual "New Shoes for Back to School" event in Richmond.
For the first time, organizers used two locations to give out the shoes to local families. The shoes were available until 4 p.m., at Second Baptist Church off Broad Rock Blvd. on Richmond's Southside, and downtown at Third Street Bethel AME on 3rd Street.
There were many happy children who now have new kicks for the first day of school, thanks to the "New Shoes for School Ministry of Richmond Partnership of Churches.”
"It's really good that they're helping out people that can't really do much for their kids for school," said mother Patricia Spence.
This is Spence's first year at the event. She brought her four children.
"I had to get clothes and school supplies for them and shoes was the last thing on the list. So this is really helpful for us," Spence said.
"I don't usually have athletic shoes and to be able to come here and get some, it's really helpful to me," said one student, who took home a pair of Reeboks.
A total of 13 churches helped organize the event. They collected donations from church members, neighbors, and local stores. This year, they received 4,000 pairs of shoes, the largest amount ever.
"Every brand from Adidas to Nike to Reeboks to Prokids to Converse, they're here," said Pastor Ralph Hodge with Second Baptist Church.
And so are the smiles--from the students, parents and volunteers.
"We have volunteers and shippers with each person. So you have someone who takes you to where the shoes are and there's someone there to help you with the shoes," said Hodge.
It’s a small way to make sure these students start classes on the right foot.
"I like them. Because they got white and my favorite color on there--blue," said one elementary school student as he showed off his new Pumas.
"I like them. It feels like they'll make me smarter," said another student about his shoes.
The event goes on until 4 p.m. at both locations. You just have to make sure your children are with you.