By TRAVIS MORSE
MT. VERNON — —
MT. VERNON – Organizers of a local effort to provide gym shoes to children say they still need to raise about $5,000 to meet their fundraising goal.
The project in question, known as Happy Feet, is being carried out by Kingdom Seed Ministries and Shoe Stop, Inc. A pork chop lunch has been scheduled for 11 a.m. July 19 at 118 N. 9th St. to raise additional funds for the effort.
“When it's all said and done, we need to raise about $10,000, and we're about halfway there,” said Monte Jo Clark, who serves on the elder board for Kingdom Seed Ministries. “We did a (pork chop lunch) in June and raised $1,200. … We know how to build it bigger and better now. We expect great things out of this one.”
Interested parties should call, text, or fax their orders for the upcoming pork chop lunch no later than July 17. A $10 “sack lunch” includes a pork chop sandwich, chips, baked beans, coleslaw, fruit, and a homemade cookie. The lunch is $5 if you only order a sandwich.
The lunch will last from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on July 19. Delivery or carry out options are available or you can eat your meal at the event.
Happy Feet was launched earlier this year as a way to supply brand name, high-quality gym shoes to at least 500 area children in need. For the program to be successful, the funding will have to be raised prior to the Kingdom Seed Ministries Back to School Bash Aug. 10.
Before the bash, qualifying students will receive Happy Feet vouchers when they complete early registration at their school. Then at the bash, the children will exchange their vouchers for a pair of shoes.
Vouchers will be issued to Jefferson County students from low-income households. However, only certain area schools are participating in the program.
Clark said her ministry chose to focus on gym shoes because it was where they “saw a need.” Public schools can waive lab fees, book fees, or lunch fees for certain students, but there are no assistance programs for gym shoes, she said.
“Our ministry was founded by a group of educators so we really have a heart for helping kids,” Clark said.
Shoe Stop in Mt. Vernon is an essential part of this project since they are providing the shoes. The shoe company, Skechers, has also been a great help since they have given Shoe Stop a discounted rate on shoes for the Happy Feet effort.
“We think it's a great program,” said Tammy Dickey, general manager of the local Shoe Stop. “We were honored that they asked us to be a part of it.”
This is the first year of Happy Feet and organizers want to make it an annual project. The goal next year is to provide shoes to even more children, Clark said.
You can call or text your order for the pork chop lunch to 731-2599. You can also fax an order form to 437-5333.
Cash donations of any amount are also being accepted.