It's a program that is called Shoes Help Our Elementary Students (S.H.O.E.S.). The program is coordinated by a local non-profit organization called In The Image. They  have been giving away free shoes for elementary aged students for 25 years.

This year the giveaway will be on Monday, August 9th, 2021 at In The Image's new location at 4255 Kalamazoo Avenue SE. S.H.O.E.S. works with 38 elementary schools in five Kent County school districts to provide students with a free pair of athletic shoes to children in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Parents must register for the program. You can find out if your child is eligible and register on the In The Image website, or by contacting your school administrator.

To be eligible students must be registered for the 2021-2022 school year at one of the schools partnered up with the S.H.O.E.S. program. 26 schools in the Grand Rapids Public School system, along with schools in the Godfrey Lee, Godwin, Kentwood, and Wyoming school districts are included in the list of partner schools. You can see the list for yourself here.

To keep everyone safe during the shoe pick up period masks will be required. The In the Image website also says additional safety measures will be in place, including:

  • Hand sanitizer stations will be available
  • Strict physical distancing guidelines will be in place
  • Symptom checks including temperature checks prior to entering the program area
    Please stay home if anyone in your family has come in contact with someone with COVID-19 or is displaying symptoms that could be COVID-19 related -- your appointment can be rescheduled!

Since 1996, In The Image has provided new athletic shoes for over 65,000 students. By having a new pair of shoes ensures that children can "walk to and from school and participate in recess, gym class, sports and after-school programs." It makes it so that no child has to worry about having a new pair of shoes to begin the school year.

Volunteers are also needed to help with the shoe giveaway. You can sign up to volunteer here.

You can follow In the Image on their Facebook page for additional information.

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