Unsung Hero: Happy Feet

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By Ashley Smith
By Josue

MT. VERNON -- Tying our shoe laces and stepping out the door for a walk or run is something many of us do often. That makes it hard to believe that there are some kids who don't have shoes for gym class.

"When the classes are in the gym I see kids sitting and not being able to participate because they don't have the proper shoes to wear on the floor," said Coordinator Monte Jo Clark.

Monte Jo Clark of Kingdom Seed Ministries in Mt. Vernon is the coordinator of "Happy Feet." "Happy Feet" is a campaign with a goal of supplying 500 elementary-aged kids with sneakers. They're hoping to help families who wouldn't be able to otherwise afford shoes.

"We really see this as a community effort to help Mt. Vernon, help our families," said Pastor Tammie Henry.

Through fundraisers and donations the church is hoping no child will have to sit out during gym class.

"It would have been embarrassing for my child I'm sure, and all of my kids were really into sports. I can't imagine what it would feel like. I wouldn't want that for my child," said Monte.

Shoe Stop, Inc. in Mt. Vernon is using the donations to purchase shoes at a discount. Skechers has also reached out to the group in support of "Happy Feet."

"We don't want to provide used shoes or low quality shoes. We feel that these kids have the right to have the name-brand, high quality shoes just like everybody else," said Monte.

KSM is asking that you support "Happy Feet" through buying their merchandise or monetary donations. That way Shoe Stop can use the money to purchase the shoes themselves.

"We don't want shoes on any student to say they got help from someone. We want them to feel that they have worth and that they have value and that they can have some pride in how they look and how they feel," said Tammie.

The church hopes their feet aren't the only thing going back to school happy.

KSM has contacted the principals in Jefferson County about "Happy Feet." The school administrators will give vouchers to the students who may need assistance. They will receive those vouchers when they come to school registration. The church will then host a "Back-to-School Bash" in August where the shoes will be distributed.

For more information on ways to help or get involved, you can call Monte Jo Clark at (618) 731-2599.
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