Students wait in line for 5,000 pairs of free shoes

By Melissa Correa - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A group of Richmond churches donated thousands of shoes to area school children.

It's a necessity they're willing to wait for as they stand in a packed line for hours early Monday morning.

"I need the shoes," said Rasheedah Neblett.  "I need the shoes. And I really appreciate it."

We caught up with Rasheedah Neblett and her daughters two blocks from the front door of 3rd Street Bethel Church.

"I'm a single mother and I work but I don't make a lot of money on my job," said Neblett.  "And another pair of shoes would be good."

It was chilly Labor Day morning. Parents bundled their babies in strollers, kids plopped down on crates and cops kept the peace as the line inched forward.

This year 10 churches participated in the four-year old program.   Five thousand pairs of shoes will be fitted and sent home with kids in kindergarten through high school.

Michael Placker and his family of four were some of the first to make a selection.  "I've got a low-income right now," said Placker.  "I'm only part-time and we need the extra help."

"About $100 minimum," he said, when asked how much it would cost to buy shoes for every one of them.

As Nadia Johnson slips her foot in a high-top she doesn't realize the cost, but she appreciates the help.

What do you like about them? "They look pretty," said Johnson.  Do you know that they're free? 'Yes."  What do you want to say to the people who are giving you shoes for free? "Thank you."

Thank you -- it's a simple message for a thoughtful gesture.  A vote of confidence for kids ready to start the school year on the right foot.

"I would say thank you," said Neblett.  "The biggest thank you ever. I think everybody out here really appreciates it. We really do."

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