Families Benefit From Back-To-School “Shoe Rally”

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The first year of the Wilkinson Center's Back-To-School Shoe Drive helped 500 children; this year they are helping 1,800 kids by giving them all new shoes.

Carlin Morris started organizing the Wilkinson Center's Back-To-School Shoe Drive 23 years ago, and it's still going strong.

"I wanted to make sure each child had at least one pair of shoes each year that was fitted to their feet, brand new shoes," Morris said.

The Wilkinson Center is a nonprofit in Dallas dedicated to helping the city's working poor. It partners with Payless ShoeSource for the annual event, which is crucial for many who participate. High school students Janie and Jazmin Shoumbert said they and their siblings only have about one pair of shoes each.

"Our dad died, my mom's a single mom, so this is just like a really great experience for us," said Janie. "We can get some shoes, my little brothers get shoes, and we can't really afford to just go buy new shoes all the time."

Her sister agreed. 

"You don't want to start school with old tattered shoes," Janie said. "People look at your shoes, my little brothers, they have to wear uniforms so every one wears the same so if you have tattered shoes they might make fun of them."

Morris says there are many families in Dallas facing the same challenges.

"When you add the shoes to the backpacks, to the new clothes, to the uniforms, to the gas, to the food budget and all," she said. "I just hope that when they don't have to buy a pair of shoes that helps with their monthly budget and they can feed their children easier."

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