KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Hundreds of children received new shoes and school supplies Saturday during the 19th-annual Shoes for School event.
The event was put on by Knoxville Area Urban League and Covenant Health at Caswell Park.
“We appreciate our partner Covenant Health, sponsors and volunteers who have helped us send kids back to school with their best foot forward,” said Phyllis Y. Nichols, president and CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League. “Breaking down any financial barriers for parents helps students start their semester off right, and it’s all thanks to the community.”
In all, more than 600 children received shoes, and the Urban League estimates that about 2,000 picked up school supplies. Attendees enjoyed food, games, inflatables and free items set up by 27 booth sponsors representing businesses, civic and nonprofit organizations, church groups and others.
Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee also attended the event and brought a large, refrigerated truck. In an effort to help combat the lingering economic effects of the pandemic and food insecurity, the organization gave out approximately two weeks’ worth of food with fresh produce to each family.
New Direction Health Care Solutions provided free COVID-19 vaccinations and educational information to attendees.
“There’s something about a new pair of shoes and school supplies that make the start of the year more exciting,” Nichols said. “We’re always happy to spur that enthusiasm at this event year-after-year.”