NKY students to get new shoes thanks to non-profit group

Nonprofit bringing new shoes to NKY students

NORTHERN KENTUCKY (FOX19) - Brand new shoes are coming to some northern Kentucky schools, and they're expected to put a pep in the step of students who may be struggling.

Newport Independent Schools, Dayton Independent Schools, and Bellevue Independent Schools are taking part in the program.

At Newport Intermediate, school leaders said the need for shoes is immediate because 15 percent of the district's students are considered to be "living in transition" or homeless, and 91 percent of their students fall below the federal poverty level. Newport Intermediate's Family Resource Coordinator Amber Onkst said teachers and staff members like herself see the impact firsthand.

"Their clothes are way too big for them, or their clothes have holes in them and aren't functioning and their peers are making fun of them, which then makes it difficult for them to be successful in the classroom," Onkst said.

That's why the three school districts are bringing international nonprofit Samaritan's Feet into the lives of the students. The organization provides shoes to children in need all over the world. Denise Blomberg, the Regional Director of Operations at Samaritan's Feet, said the Northern KY Tribune, Southbank Partners, and the Corporex Foundation, with support from the Calipari Foundation and a Walmart state grant, are making the events in northern Kentucky possible.

"There are so many people in this community that are pulling for (students) to be successful, and I think this event will help them see just how much the community loves these kids," Onkst said.

Over the course of four days in August, after school has started, they'll serve 2,000 students at four different school buildings. Volunteers will wash the students' feet one-by-one and then size them for new kicks to help them start off the new year on the right foot. The students also receive new socks.

"The smiles on the kids faces just light up at an event," Blomberg said.

The ultimate goal, Blomberg said, is to leave the students feeling inspired and encouraged.

"We don't know if we're sitting across from the next mayor of Newport or the next governor of Kentucky or Ohio, it's that powerful," Blomberg said.

Organizers said they really need local volunteers to sign up to help that day. If washing feet does not sound appealing, Onkst said there are other ways you can help out. All you have to do is sign up online via the links below.

Schedule of events

  • Wednesday, August 22: Shoe distribution at Newport Primary School
    • 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, August 23: Shoe distribution at Ben Flora Gym in Bellevue
    • 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Friday, August 24: Shoe distribution at Lincoln Elementary School in Dayton
    • 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Monday, August 27: Shoe distribution at Newport Intermediate School
    • 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
    • Sign up to volunteer for this event at this link

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