This content is sponsored by the Charities Guild of Northern Kentucky.
It’s that time of year again as kids from across Northern Kentucky head back to kick off a new school year. Before taking that first walk through the school doors, it’s important for many to get what they need to make the transition to a new year just a little bit smoother.
That means new school supplies, backpacks, clothes, and for a lot of kids, a brand-new pair of shoes. Some are not so fortunate – sadly, too many children simply do not have access to the resources needed to be able to take that walk in a new pair of shoes.
Instead, they may be walking in with shoes with no shoestrings, no socks, or shoes with holes in them. That is where our organization, the Charities Guild of Northern Kentucky, is eager to step in and provide assistance.
For those not familiar, the Charities Guild of Northern Kentucky is a volunteer based non-profit organization with a singular goal: improve the lives of children and families in the Northern Kentucky area. For more than 40 years now, our Shoe Fund has provided shoes to area children that need them the most. Through our partnerships with local schools, churches, and social service agencies, our Shoe Fund identifies those children most in need and then makes a new pair of shoes a reality for them. Though a simple act, it has a lasting impact.
“Providing this basic need has enormous benefits. When children arrive at school with shoes in good condition, they’re able to have more confidence in the classroom and focus more effectively on learning, truly setting them up for a successful future,” said Charities Guild President Megan Bankemper.
Suddenly, when you consider the effect that it can have, a pair of shoes is not just a pair of shoes anymore – it’s an investment in a child’s future. This year, under the leadership of President Bankemper and Shoe Fund Committee Co-Chairs, Sara Zimmerman and Julie Hogan, the Shoe Fund has provided a record number of shoes to area children. In 2023, to date, the Shoe Fund has been able to get more than 900 pairs of shoes on the feet of children that need them.
The Shoe Fund was able to accomplish this through hosting shoe drives at various local schools at which Charities Guild members helped scores of children “shop” for shoes.
“It gives us an opportunity as members to interact with the kids and actually get to see the smile on their face as they pick out their new shoes,” said Co-Chair Sara Zimmerman.
Through the leadership of those mentioned above as well as the dedicated work of so many of our members, both the number of shoe drives and shoes provided increased significantly from 2022. While we are pleased that we have been able to reach so many children this year, this also tells us that there is work left to do.
In order to continue this work, our organization hosts an event each year that serves as the primary opportunity to generate the resources needed for our Shoe Fund. The funds raised at our annual event, the Happy Feet Ball, are used to finance the shoe purchases that are so vitally needed.
This year’s Happy Feet Ball will take place on Friday, September 29th at Longworth Hall in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Happy Feet Ball, in addition to being a whole lot of fun for those that attend, displays the generosity of so many individuals and businesses throughout our Northern Kentucky community. Through their generous sponsorships, we can continue the pursuit of improving the lives of all those children in need.
If you are not able to attend or become a sponsor for the Happy Feet Ball but would still like to help the cause of these children, there are plenty of other ways to partner with Charities Guild. One way to have a tremendous impact is by becoming a “sole mate” through our website. You can become a “sole mate” with a one-time $50 contribution – that selfless contribution not only goes to directly to our Shoe Fund, but it actually translates to one pair of shoes for a child in need.
Regardless of how you contribute, there’s no doubt as to its importance. In the State of Kentucky currently, more than one in four children are living in poverty. It’s certainly hard to think about so many children trapped in a cycle of poverty. It’s harder still to learn that some of these children are being impacted by it right here in our local communities. At Charities Guild, our mission is to confront it in a practical, meaningful way. By helping to provide the basic needs in the form of shoes, our hope is that simple acts of compassion will help to break that cycle in the life of every child we are fortunate enough to reach. We hope you will join us.