ROCKFORD (WIFR) — Only one child in Kishwaukee Elementary School is not living in poverty and hundreds of kids are sitting out from gym class because they can’t afford the proper shoes to participate.
The kids at Kishwaukee are very appreciative of their gifts from Annie’s Locker as the organization is handing out more than 300 pairs of brand new gym shoes.
“We start with the youngest and we give them gym shoes so that they can participate and become better students, stronger adults and lead a healthy lifestyle,” said Terri Odell, the Vice President of Operations for Annie’s Locker.
This is the eighth year Annie’s Locker has done this and for the last six weeks, they were collecting shoes for students who were forced to sit out from gym class because they didn’t have the proper foot wear.
“In December and January, sometimes they’ll come to school in sandals or they’ll come to school in slides something that doesn’t keep them warm,” said Toby Johnson, Kishwaukee’s P.E. Teacher. “A lot of our students, maybe they only have one pair of school shoes and as we all know, kids grow pretty quickly.”
Ultimately, this is about setting the kids down the right path, to help others, and to think about more than just themselves.
“It’s a moment to remind them to run and jump for others who maybe can’t,” said Odell. “We’re hoping our impact allows these children to maybe help out in public service or with a child or with a friend and enjoy life.”
According to the Illinois State Board of Education’s school report card for the last school year, 99 percent of Kishwaukee’s students are considered “low-income.”
Annie’s Locker began in 2008 and was inspired by a runner who died a year earlier.