St. Andrews Church looked more like the back room of a shoe store than a house of worship Monday morning, as box after box of sneakers lined the church's walls. Outside, hundreds lined up, some starting at 4:00am, for free shoes and school supplies.
Lou Paris with St. Andrew's Church, said the shoes will help in the learning process. "A lot of kids don't go to school because they're embarrassed at not having adequate shoe wear," he said.
Which is why St. Andrews started the shoe give-a-way 15 years ago. Paris said each year they go through about 1200 pair of shoes.
"These are not hand me down used shoes," he said. "They're all brand new shoes out of the box. They're not name brand shoes, but that allows us to get more shoes, and more bang for the buck."
Teacher's assistant Jesse Wilkes said the shoes make a difference to students, "They really can't do that work if they don't have the supplies that they really, really, need," he said.
The advanced operation at St. Andrews includes tracking shoe sizes by computer, a stock room, and a return area. The church employs the help volunteer help of its 3,000 members for the giveaway, including donations of sneakers and money.