New shoes for a new school year!

Shoes & Socks Fund
Do I get to keep them Miss?” A pair of hopeful shiny eyes flashing back at me needs an immediate answer. “Of course you do you, sweetheart,” I explain. “These are for you to wear with your new socks the very first day of school.”

Every year for the past four decades, The Salvation Army at Amarillo has provided brand new shoes and socks for thousands of Panhandle children. This year more than 800 kindergarten through twelfth grade young people will get to go back-to-school shopping at Wal-Mart and pick out the shoes they want.

Every year at this time, Frances Powell is honored as the person who commandeered the Amarillo Globe News Foundation’s Empty Stocking Fund to contribute to the local Salvation Army and thus entrust the annual Shoe and Sock Distribution in our care. “Her legacy lives on in the lives of these children,” according to Major Cheryl Grider. “We are privileged to carry on this tremendous tradition.”

“We love our part too in getting these kids ready for school,” says Clint Walker, store manager of Wal-Mart. We have our employees volunteer with the registration process then we dedicate one cash register for two days just for these children and their parents.”

The aisles are alive with the sound of giggling, excited little ones, test driving their new shoes up and down the rows of the store. It’s Christmas in July and a great new start to a great new school year.

Curves, Barbara Oberholtzer owner is conducting a school supply drive with members of Curves in Galveston. A school supply drive was conducted last year and The Salvation Army in Galveston benefitted from the proceeds.

El Paso
Sally’s Bus
The Salvation Army in El Paso is pleased to announce the results of our annual drive to collect school supplies and clothing for needy children that reside in the emergency family shelter located at 4300 East Paisano, and throughout El Paso. Many people are not aware that we house up to 100 individuals nightly, of which two in three are children.

This year we partnered with Bassett Center, Premiere Cinemas, the El Paso Independent School District, and last but by no means least Immanuel Christian School.

The athletes from the boy’s football team and girl’s volleyball team manned the kettles for us over a three day weekend from Friday, August 12 through Sunday, August 14, and collected more than to $2,100. The kettles were set up beside a school bus loaned to us by the El Paso Independent School District located at the west entrance to Bassett Center. School supply donations were also received at the same location in an effort to stuff the bus, in which we received over 2,000 donations.

The donations will be used to help more than 420 children in El Paso to include those residing at The Salvation Army emergency family shelter, children at the Child Crisis Center, Dame La Mano, the two Corps Community Centers operated by The Salvation Army (Citadel and Temple), La Posada and the ladies at Villa Maria.

Premiere Cinemas will continue their fundraising efforts throughout and through Tax Exempt weekend. Individuals wishing to donate school supplies can drop them off at the theater located inside Bassett Center.

San Antonio
For the past thirty years, The San Antonio Area Command has hosted a very popular Back to School event, the “Shoe-In”. Working with the Counseling staff at 270 elementary schools, applications are completed by parents who just cannot make another purchase for their children. The Salvation Army provides 1,800 – 2,000 pairs of shoes to about 1,000 families in one day at the Hope Center. Two hundred fifty volunteers, in three shifts, fit shoes on the feet of these children, encouraging them in a fun and friendly manner. The volunteers assure us that they receive as much a blessing as the children receiving the shoes. Knowing that they have helped make the burden of poverty a little less stressful is the highlight of the year for some of our regular volunteers.

There was a family that consisted of three rambunctious boys, ages 10, 9 and 7, and one sweet, shy 5 year old girl. The volunteer measured the girl’s foot first, and then went to bring back three pair of shoes for her to try on. She shyly indicated that she only wanted to try on the white and pink pair. The volunteer asked if she wouldn’t like to try the others. “No, I like this one”.

The boys were next. They were not nearly as reluctant to try on more shoes. After three and four pairs each, they finally had the shoes they wanted and were ready to go. Once more, the volunteer asked the little girl if she’d like to try on one of the other styles. Again, she shook her head and stood to leave.

Fumbling in her pocket, she pulled out a little bundle of papers and, head downcast, she handed a dollar bill sized paper to the volunteers. As they unfolded the papers, they found crayon colored drawings with her sweetly written note, “Thank you for my new shoes, I never got some before”.

The Salvation Army in Midland distributed school supplies from their Disaster Canteen at a city park on Thursday, August 18th.

The Salvation Army Service Center in Brownwood school supplies to 391 area children in 2010 and hope to be able to provide help to even more children this year, having registered more than 500 young people this year. They rely on local donations from individuals and businesses to support this program.

Fort Worth
The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary in Fort Worth donated 100 backpacks containing school supplies for children served by The Salvation Army. Children at the Northside Community Center received backpacks from Corps Officers, Majors John and Linda Queener, after sharing a prayer asking God’s blessing on the backpacks and supplies.

Women’s Auxiliary president, Gloria Walker, was on hand for the backpack distribution.
“I wanted to cry when the children came into the chapel because I just know how special it is for children to have something new, something of their own,” Walker said. “It’s just really rewarding for the Women’s Auxiliary to be a part of that.”

The backpacks and school supplies were purchased through funds raised at the Women’s Auxiliary annual garage sale in March.