Kicks for Kids: Children to receive new athletic shoes

Tim Matheny, president of Matheny Motors, and Marta Bailey, co-director of the Kicks for Kids run and walk, stand by a truck containing donated new athletic shoes at Matheny Motors on Ann Street. The Parkersburg dealership will continue to accept donations of athletic shoes through the end of August. (Photo by Paul LaPaan)

PARKERSBURG — Local residents are making sure children have new athletic shoes to wear.

Sixty pairs of athletic shoes for children were donated at Matheny Motors, 315 Ann St. in Parkersburg, during the company’s tailgate touchdown customer appreciation event from 3-6 p.m. Saturday, said Monica Matheny, director of marketing.

Matheny Motors had already collected 50 pairs of shoes since Aug. 1.

Ray and Kim Blackburn have pledged $250 to purchase kids’ athletic shoes, Monica said.

New athletic shoes for area children, from pre-kindergarten through high school, or money to purchase shoes can be dropped off at Matheny Motors through the end of August.

The shoes will be delivered to a Wood County Schools storage area before being distributed to children who need them.

Matheny Motors’ effort is part of the Kicks for Kids shoe drive, now in its ninth year, to provide athletic shoes to area children. Athletic shoes also can be dropped off at Jon Six Hair Salon in Vienna and The Gift Gallery of Vienna.

Proceeds from the July 27 Kicks for Kids 5K run and walk in Parkersburg will be used to purchase athletic shoes for children. The run/shoe program is sponsored by the River City Runners and Walkers Club. A total of 235 runners and walkers participated in last month’s event.

Marta Bailey, co-director of the Kicks for Kids run and a River City Runners and Walkers Club Board member, attended Saturday’s shoe collection day at Matheny Motors.

Bailey said the shoe drive allows children to remain active and safe with quality athletic shoes.

The shoes are kept in a “shoe closet” until school nurses inform Karen Northrup, a Wood County Schools nurse, or Sharon Marks, a Parkersburg High School teacher, that a child needs a new pair of athletic shoes.

Marks said she also receives a few shoe requests from a principal or a pastor if the child is homeschooled. But 99 percent of the requests come from school nurses, she said.

The nurses provide only a shoe size and gender of the child, but not a name to preserve the anonymity of the recipient.

Marks, co-director of the Kicks for Kids run, said about 150 athletic shoes were given out last year.

The Kicks for Kids program has been growing each year, Northrup said. It’s been wonderful for the schools, she added.

The children are delighted to receive the shoes, Northrup said. The Mid-Ohio Valley has been marvelous in helping with this program, she said.

The athletic shoes provide for a safe physical activity at school for the children, Northrup said.