The difference a cool pair of sneakers can make for Kansas City kids
KSHB's "Gift of Sole" wants to put new sneakers on the feet of children whose families may not otherwise be able to afford them.
Childhood should be a carefree time, but kids can be stigmatized, bullied, and ridiculed — all for lacking a pair of decent shoes.
As of 2019, 1 in 7 children in the United States was living in poverty and shoes are one of the most visible signs of that condition.
KSHB 41 News Anchor Kevin Holmes personally experienced the sinking, embarrassing feeling of going to school without a cool pair of "kicks."
He recalls growing up on Chicago's south side when Michael Jordan and his athletic shoes ruled supreme. Holmes' sneakers came from Payless Shoe Source where the in-house brand of Pro Wings for men ran $12.99 a pair in 1989.
Now Holmes is leading his station's Gift of Sole initiative to help 300 kids get a nice pair of sneakers.
The campaign is accepting financial donations online and by text. Those will be used to buy sneakers for children whose parents are financially struggling and cannot afford the footwear.
"We're trying to raise enough money to provide shoes for these kids so they can have a nice pair of sneakers, especially as we head into the winter months," said Holmes.
The long-term goal is to run Gift of Sole annually and perhaps time it to other back-to-school events so that students have new shoes to wear at the start of the academic year.
As Holmes pointed out, "We're trying to provide these sneakers so that these kids have one less thing to focus on in the classroom. They have so many obstacles right now to overcome . . . but shoes, a nice pair of sneakers, shouldn't be one of them."
- Kevin Holmes, anchor for KSHB 41
Gift of Sole runs through Friday, Oct. 15. Donations can be made at KSHB.com or by texting KSHB to 345345.