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“Stepping into Joy: How New Shoes Transform Lives for Children Experiencing Homelessness”

Not many children include shoes on their holiday wish list. 

But for so many of the millions of kids experiencing homelessness in the U.S., new shoes are actually what they most want.  

It’s not just that these kiddos want to look good. It’s that they want to feel good. 

They want to win a perfect attendance award. But they can’t, if they don’t have shoes.  

They want to dress out for gym class. But they can’t, if all they own are flip flops. 

They want to join after-school activities. But they can’t, if their shoes don’t fit. 

They want to have a part-time job. But they can’t, if their shoes have holes. 

 They want to feel like they belong. But they can’t, if their shoes are different from their peers’. 

With new shoes, kids experiencing homelessness can do all of these things, and more. 

 Kai, a 7th grader, quickly wears out his shoes walking 25 minutes to and from the shelter and his school. When he received a brand new pair, thanks to donors like you, he literally started jumping for joy with excitement. He can now walk comfortably, and his mom no longer has to choose between shoes and purchasing food for their family. 

All our generous 4EveryKid donors allow for more kids like Kai to jump for joy.  

So far in 2023, generous humans like you have helped us provide new shoes to 115,000 kids experiencing homelessness in the U.S. That’s astounding!  

And yet, we know through our partnership with local school districts we know many kids still need our help… 

Kids like Mateo, whose family lost everything in a fire. 

Kids like Amira, who’s been wearing one pair of shoes for two years. 

Kids like Parker, who lost his mom and his home to domestic violence. 

And I just know these kids can count on us. 

No matter what size gift you make for 4EveryKid, know this: You’re not just giving shoes. You’re giving dignity. Belonging. Confidence. And joy.  

With deep gratitude, 

Buddy Teaster 

President & CEO, Soles4Souls 

P.S. Research shows that shoes have an impact on children’s physical, psychological, and emotional well-being. And our school partners see the evidence through increased school attendance and engagement, higher confidence, and more participation in sports and other extracurriculars.  

In short, when kids have shoes that feel good, they do, too!