Area kids in need receive new shoes

VIENNA – Payless Shoe store and Community Resources partnered to help 25 children get new shoes and boots.

Each year Payless Gives, a program of Payless ShoeSource, awards grants to organizations across the country where they have stores to provide shoes to needy children.

On Thursday, local CRI representatives and families gathered at the Payless Shoe store at the Grand Central Mall to do some shopping.

“Organizations can apply to get gift cards so children in their area can get a free pair of shoes. We received the grant about four years ago, you have to apply every year and it’s very competitive. We were able to get the grant again this year, and we received 25 gift certificates for $20 each,” said Sarah Holt, CRI community development director.

CRI officials said many of the families selected were clients with the agency.

The children got to choose whatever shoes they wanted.

“The kids are excited, and they are ready to go, some probably have not had a pair of new shoes for two or three years. Some are wearing oversized or undersized shoes, or their shoes are in poor condition. With the recent weather, boots will probably be a popular item,” Holt said.

“We are excited to be a part of this program, it really helps the families move toward self-sufficient status,” said Lewis Newberry, CRI executive director.

CRI is a Community Action Agency serving 11 counties in West Virginia with offices here in Wood County.

“We provide crisis intervention service, like utility assistance. We do a lot of family development, working longer term with families to better their situations. We have a weatherization program to help make homes more energy efficient. We are getting ready to offer free income tax preparation as a VITA site, that will open Jan. 21. We also have a lot of referral services,” Holt said.

For Tanner Forshey, 3, it was all about green.

He and dad Terry scanned the store Thursday in search of a pair of green tennis shoes.

“He’ll have to pick what he wants, he’s pretty picky,” Terry said.

Tanner, who was wearing a green Buzz Lightyear jacket, said “I want green.” He finally settled on a green pair of tennis shoes sporting a car-design theme.

Lisa Bradley and her son Tyler were looking for boots.

“My unemployment got cut and I’m a full time student, my son has no winter boots, that’s what we’re going for today,” Lisa said.

Tyler, with his mom’s help, settled on a pair of waterproof boots that cost a little more than the $20 provided, but mom made up the difference.

“As the kids get older, the shoes get more expensive,” Lisa said.

For more information about services provided by CRI, call the Wood County office at 304-485-5525, or check out their website at www.cricap.org.