Program to provide winter shoes for children

December 5, 2018

HURRICANE — Putnam Shoes for Children has been providing new shoes for Putnam County children at the start of each school year since 2015.

This year, thanks to generous donations from the community and businesses, the program will be able to go above and beyond its original mission by providing a welcome gift for children just in time for Christmas: new shoes to carry them through the cold winter months.

“This has been made possible due to the generous support of the local businesses and individuals not only in our surrounding area, but Florida, also,” founder Debbie Pye wrote in a news release. “As you know, the winter months of snow, rain and mud takes its toll, especially when a child only has one pair of shoes. We purchase new quality shoes for the children of need. There are an overwhelming number of children that need our help and the need continues to grow at a fast pace.”

Putnam Shoes for Children began in 2015 and began purchasing shoes in 2016. The organization has purchased more than 590 pairs of quality, new shoes during the past two years. This school year alone, it will purchase approximately 450 pairs of shoes, according to the news release.

“Yes, shoes are a necessity, but there is something about the feeling we have with shoes,” Pye wrote. “Unfortunately, there are children going to school here in Putnam County whose shoes are tattered, duct-taped, or handed down from an older sibling or their parents.

“And it is not just the image, it is the fit,” Pye continued. “Some children are wearing shoes that are so small they hurt their feet, which are so uncomfortable that they can’t concentrate. Some children take their shoes off in class just to relieve the pain. All they can think of is their feet. Children who are forced to wear tattered shoes concentrate more on hiding them, than their schoolwork. We provide children in need with new shoes that enable them to attend school in comfort and with dignity.”

Pye said school counselors and principals are to be commended for their time and talents as they work diligently to help the shoes discretely reach the children who need them most.

“We do require that children write thank you letters for their shoes and we mail these letters to donors that donate $50 or more to the organization,” Pye said.

Schools participating this year are Buffalo Elementary, Conner Street Elementary, Hometown Elementary, Poca Elementary and West Teays Elementary. All shoes are purchased at a discount at Dick’s Sporting Goods and Shoe Carnival at the Huntington Mall, which have partnered with the program.

Putnam Shoes for Children is a 501 (3) organization and 100 percent of the monies donated go directly to purchasing shoes and socks for the children.

Pye said the organization extends special thanks to a few of its major donors, including Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, Inc.; Mark Madore of Family First Realty; Cindy Elkins of Family First Realty; Dr. John Brock of Huntington, and Ascension Catholic Church of Hurricane parishioners.

“We want to thank the many Putnam County businesses and individuals in the surrounding areas that have donated to help make this possible,” Pye said. “It is through their generosity and support that the children of need will be attending school with dignity and be able to focus on their studies rather than their circumstances.”

Contact Pye at msdeborahpye@gmail.com or look for Putnam Shoes for Children on Facebook. You can use the donate button on the Facebook page or your donation may be mailed to PO Box 1050, Hurricane, WV 25526. You can also help by shopping at Amazonsmile.com and choose as your charity: “Teays Valley Community in Action, Inc. dba Putnam Shoes for Children.”

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