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Sole Mates: Non-profits join forces to donate shoes to students

From left are Kelly Polinski (Kelly’s Closet), Tyrell Ellis (Shoe Department Encore), Julie Nutter (The Childrens Listening Place), Jenni Reitmire ( Appalachian Council HeadStart), Shannon Hendricks (Co-Coordinator Healthy Community Coalition), Angie Whitehead (Community Volunteer), and Angie’s two daughters Julie Williams and Caily Williams. (Photo by Maria Rutherford)

PARKERSBURG — Health Plan is sponsoring an event that will provide quality footwear as needed to students in grades K-12 for the span of the upcoming school year thanks to all involved in the community project known as Operation Kids Soles.

The event will take place Aug. 20 at The Gathering church located at 1005 14th Street, and is open to the public from 5 to 6 p.m.

Non-profit organizations such as Healthy Community Coalition, The Childrens Listening Place, Kelly’s Closet, Appalachian Council Headstart, as well as 43 others are doing their part to bring the community together and relieve those in need, organizers said.

Local businesses who have donated more than $10,000 worth of shoes include Walmart, Shoe Department and Shoe Carnival. Shoes were chosen by members of four different non-profit organizations within the community. These individuals include Julie Nutter of The Childrens Listening Place, Kelly Polinski who is the founder and president of Kelly’s Closet, Jenni Reitmire of Appalachian Council Headstart and Shannon Hedrick of Healthy Community Coalition, and one well known community volunteer, Angie Whitehead.

“We hope by working together, as many community partners, we can make a bigger impact and bring hope to those we serve,” said Hedrick, who is currently serving as co-coordinator of the event.

Kelly Polinski from Kelly’s Closet holds a long receipt from Shoe Carnival, one of the businesses who donated on Tuesday for Operation Kids Soles. (Photo by Maria Rutherford)

“Working together as one entity helps us make a difference and lend a helping hand to the Wood County community. We combine our individual skill sets to better serve the many needs in the community. One person cannot do everything, but coming together people can accomplish a lot more to make a difference to each life we touch,” she said.

In order to prepare the event to be open to the public, coordinators are seeking volunteers to participate in a sorting party scheduled to be held Aug. 13 at The Sanctuary at The Gathering Church beginning at 3 p.m. The volunteers will help organize and group materials by size to offer ease of access to shoppers.

In addition to shoes many clothing items have also been donated, ranging in sizes from baby to adult. Individuals who are interested in volunteering or who wish to RSVP to this event, please contact hccofwoodcounty@gmail.com.

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