2024 Soles for Christ set for August 12 & 13

Soles for Christ is now collecting new tennis shoes for its annual program distribution. The goal of the program is to provide a new pair of shoes for each child to start school in, and in turn, boost the child’s self-esteem and enthusiasm for the coming school year. 

We would like to invite community members to participate in this program by donating new tennis shoes to our agency to be given away to those children in need. Toddler size 5 to 10, youth sizes 11 to 6 and all adult sizes are recommended (no infant sizes please). Because these shoes are intended to be worn throughout the school day, including gym and other outdoor activities, it is necessary for the shoes to have rubber soles and fully cover the foot. Therefore, dress shoes, slip-ons, flip-flops, and sandals are not appropriate for the program.

Donors are welcome to drop donations at AFL-CIO Community Services, 1203 North 6th Street in St. Joseph. Hours for drop off are 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. If possible, donations need to arrive no later than Thursday, August 8, to ensure accurate inventory and to ensure all shoes arrive at the distribution location. The donation goal for 2024 is 1,500 pairs of donated shoes.

Since its inception in 2003, the program has distributed 17,725 pairs of shoes. Last year, the program distributed 1,062 pairs of shoes, worth $26,550. After three years of COVID-related decreases, program participation numbers are getting closer to the annual average 1,100 to 1,200 children served.

Again this year, the program will be held at the Scottish Rite Temple, 515 N 6th St. Having the distribution at that facility allows for more room for participants, provides respite from the heat, and allows ample space for parking.

The distribution will be held for two days: Monday, August 12, from 9 am to 7 pm and Tuesday, August 13, 9 am to 7 pm. There is no pre-registration needed. The program serves children entering preschool (age 4+) through 12th grade in Andrew, Buchanan, Clinton, and DeKalb counties in Missouri and Doniphan County in Kansas. This includes public, parochial, and home-schooled children. Parents or guardians need to bring their child(ren) with them to the distribution; children MUST be present to be served through the program. Parents will be required to show proof of residency and the child’s age child (school ID, report card, birth certificate, any document that proves the child’s date of birth). Preschoolers must have proof of enrollment in a preschool and be at least four years old.

For other questions about donating or the distribution event, please contact AFL-CIO Community Services, (816) 364-1131.