Making a difference, one “Hope Tote” at a time

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BEREA, Ky. (WTVQ) – A non-profit is making a difference for students in Madison County.

The group Samaritan’s Feet is giving out 250 pairs of shoes in “Hope Totes” to students across Madison County. The totes include a pair of socks, shoes, a hygiene kit, a towel, a financial literacy guide, and a “be kind, be well card.”

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The “Hope Totes” will be distributed to installed lockers at 13 Family Resource and Youth Service Centers in Berea Independent Schools and Madison County Public Schools.

“What we find is it’s not about the shoes at all. It’s about that moment that we’re able to inspire a child, just like our founder of our organization was inspired at age nine when he got his very first pair of shoes from a missionary,” said Samaritan’s Feet Regional Director of Operations Denise Blomberg.

However, Blomberg notes that with the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for shoes has become even greater.

“What we learned as a world, I think, is that we really relied on our education systems to feed kids. When COVID first hit, there were bags of food going through neighborhoods in many of the cities I work in across the country. Many people said, ‘well, there’s no need for shoes because kids are learning at home.’ That makes it even more important because discretionary dollars become all that much less when you’re living in a pandemic,” said Blomberg.

Madison County schools estimates that each school in their district has about one hundred children in need of shoes, making the total about 1,500 kids a year without adequate footwear.

Samaritan’s Feet has distributed shoes all across the country and throughout Kentucky, including Louisville, Northern Kentucky, and Cincinnati.