Midwest Youth Services will be hosting a special giveaway in two locations tomorrow in Jacksonville.
Executive Director Ann Baker says the initiative began several months ago when a national organization contacted Midwest Youth Services about getting new, name brand shoes to needy young people in the area: “We heard about this nationwide program. They are a not-for-profit called Soles For Souls, and they partner with different entities throughout the United States that they think have a great need for shoes. We just know that a pair of shoes goes a long way. It’s not just a pair of shoes. Especially during the pandemic, it’s providing some relief and creating opportunity to empower people to be their best self – feeling good, comfortable, being able to succeed in school. All of that sadly comes down to shoes sometimes.”
Baker says she interviewed with the organization’s executive director back in September 2021 talking about Midwest Youth Service’s community outreach. Soles For Souls approved Midwest Youth Service’s application in March and last month they received their shipment of shoes and Bombas socks. Bombas’ company mission is that for every pair of socks purchased from their company, they will donate one pair of socks to their network of giving partners who work to help the homeless, at-risk, and in-need communities across the country.
Baker says since the initial drop off of their shipment of shoes and socks that Midwest Youth Services has been working hard to distribute those shoes and socks throughout their service territory: “As of today [Thursday], Midwest Youth Services has provided street outreach and brand new shoes and two new pairs of brand new Bombas socks to every single youth that attends school at Garrison Alternative School here in Jacksonville. We have partnered with Lafayette Academy to provide shoes there, Crossroads Learning Academy, and then we’ve also went to St. Mary’s Elementary School & Junior High in Mt. Sterling, which is one of our coverage areas.”
Baker says the remaining shoes will be given away tomorrow [Friday] in two locations: “We still probably have about 80 pairs of shoes that we are wanting to get to those who might need them just to provide some relief. There truly is no requirements for getting the shoes and socks. We would like for them to go to people who could most benefit from having a new pair of shoes. We decided with our final hurrah of this year’s program was to do a pop-up event this Friday. From 9:30AM-11AM we will be located downtown on the Square. We will have our Midwest Youth Services Outreach Street Team there to help anyone. It is first come-first served. There is no guarantee on sizes or things like that because it’s truly what we have left. There is a very short survey for somebody to take if they do get a pair of shoes and socks. After that, they are on their way.”
The second location will be at the Walnut Court Substation located at 300 East Walnut from 1:30-3PM or until supplies are exhausted. Sizes will range from women sizes 5 through 11, and men’s sizes from 6 through 12 ½.
Baker says if people can’t make it to the event and would like to get a pair of shoes, they can contact Midwest Youth Services’ Office at 217-245-6000 and explain their circumstances. Baker says that the office will be able to set aside a pair of shoes and socks on a case-by-case basis if someone can’t come to either location tomorrow.