More than 150 children received a free pair of shoes thanks to the Rotary Club of Sumter Palmetto.
This is the fourth year Rotary Club of Sumter Palmetto has participated in the program called “Happy Feet.” The club asks guidance counselors at each of the 16 elementary schools in Sumter School District to submit the names of 10 students who deserve a free pair of shoes.
Once selected, parents are sent a voucher form to take to a designated shoe store to redeem for a pair of shoes with a $30 limit. Participants can pay the difference if the shoes they select are more than $30.
Cornelius Leach, assistant superintendent of instruction for the district and a member of Rotary Club of Sumter Palmetto, said Rotary District 7770 provided a grant of $2,550, matched by the local club for a total of $5,100, to pay for the shoes.
More than 150 students were given shoes Thursday at The Shoe Department, 1025 Broad St., which was chosen because of its variety of shoes available, Leach said.
Shelly Galloway, president of Rotary Club of Sumter Palmetto and the public information coordinator for the school district, said the program offers something special.
“The Happy Feet project is a wonderful way for the Rotary Club to give back to the community,” she said. “We do a variety of service projects, but it always means a lot when we can make a difference in the life of a child.”
Shawna Newkirk, whose two boys were selected for the project, said she appreciated the project because it “takes a burden off your chest.”
In the last three years, the Palmetto club has donated more than 700 pairs of shoes through the matching grant program.