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Wearing Out Poverty at Maryland Elementary School with NSRA

“I like my new shoes.”

When you grow up in a low-income neighborhood, that’s something you might not get to say very often. But thanks to Soles4Souls’ partnership with the National Shoe Retailers Association (NSRA), that’s exactly what we heard from a District Heights Elementary School student., Tina Howard. He then added, “I really appreciate it for all our friends.”

Howard was one of 400 children to receive brand new TimberlandTimberld shoes at a distribution event on October 31st. District Heights Elementary School is located in Forestville, Maryland, just outside Washington D.C. It’s a Title I school, which means many of their families struggle financially. As principal Marlowe Blount-Rich, explained, “We’re coming up on our holiday season, and many of our families are not able to afford Timberlands for our children. So, this is a wonderful opportunity. Our parents are excited, and of course, our students are super excited.”

Since 2009, Soles4Souls has partnered with the NSRA to provide shoes to men, women and children across the United States. “The kids are having a great time. They love their shoes,” commented Soles4Souls’ CEO, Buddy Teaster, about this year’s event. “The NSRA members are getting a chance to be really hands-on and give back. We think that’s a perfect combination.” Timberland representative, Jim Freindlich, agreed: “We enjoy doing this. We feel it’s part of our responsibility to do business and give back to the community.”

Of course, to the kids, it’s all about the shoes. One student Donshea received a new pair of green, Timberland boots. “They’re one of my favorite colors. I’m matching with my friend and my other friend. And it’s just nice to have them.”

Big thanks to the NSRA, Timberland, New Balance for providing new socks to the students and Dansko for donating new shoes to District Heights faculty!