ALTON/GRANITE CITY - Granite City Community Unit School District #9 elementary school students were outfitted with new shoes through the organization All God’s Children Shall Have Shoes.

On Friday, Dec. 8, 2023, 135 K-6 students journeyed to Alton Square Mall to choose a new pair of shoes at Famous Footwear. Volunteers, including a few Granite City and Madison County officials, were present to help the kids pick shoes and socks that fit them.

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“This is honestly one of the biggest days of the year for our school district,” said Chris Mitchell, a representative for the district. “This is a great opportunity for us to make a difference in these children’s lives. Especially around the holidays, to get each of these students a new pair of shoes puts a smile on their face.”

Mitchell explained that the district’s social workers chose which students would benefit the most from a new pair of shoes. The kids always enjoy choosing a new pair of shoes and wearing them back to school.

Sue Wooden oversees this initiative through her organization All God’s Children Shall Have Shoes, a nonprofit that provides shoes to kids throughout Madison County. The organization runs entirely on donations and helps hundreds of local kids every year. Wooden explained that All God’s Children aims to make this a fun shopping day for the kids, especially the girls who “love to shop,” she joked.

“They get to pick out their own shoes, which is really good,” Wooden added. “Most kids don’t get to do that. They just get handed whatever.”

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The students received a new pair of shoes, a pack of socks, a cookie from the Cookie Factory and a mini police badge from the Granite City Police Department. Mitchell said it’s a “special day” for the kids, and he hopes it also encourages them to give back to others where possible when they’re older.

Wooden thanked the volunteers and social workers who helped to coordinate the shopping day. These people and the local donors, including Weber Chevrolet in Granite City, make All God’s Children possible.

“It’s a great event to help these children and to see the excitement of getting a new pair of shoes,” added Jeff Kohler, Weber Chevrolet Granite City general manager. “Some of them have never had a new pair of shoes and then to let them pick out their own shoes, a pair of Nikes, they’re just amazed that they can pick out a pair of Nikes. Some of them come in with no socks, so we donate socks to them as well. It’s just a great experience and we love being a part of it.”

To learn more about All God’s Children Shall Have Shoes, visit their official Facebook page. You can contact (618) 972-9731 for more information, or donate over Venmo @KidsShoes.

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