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Grant provides new shoes to 1,000 Cumberland County students

Posted May 9

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— Deputies from the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office visited J.W. Coon Elementary School in Hope Mills Tuesday to deliver smiles and a new pair of shoes to each of the students. Samaritan's Feet funded the $20,000 grant to provide a new pair of shoes to children at three Cumberland County elementary schools, a total of 1,000 in all.

The students sat smiling as deputies washed their feet, put on new socks and then fitted them for a brand new pair of shoes.

"We want them to feel special today. Our message to them is to dream big dreams. Yhey can achieve their dreams though a good education," said Samaritan's Feet representative Phil Campbelll.

The Shoes of Hope event is sponsored by the Foundation For The Carolinas. Since its founding in 2003, Samaritan's Feet has put shoes on the feet of 6.5 million children in more than 85 nations.

In developing countries, the goal is health. A pair of shoes can protect from diseases that might enter through bare feet.

In the U.S., the mission is to help families deal with the cost of shoes for rapidly growing children who are otherwise left to wear hand-me-down shoes from older brothers or sisters.

Patricia McLeod found she had grown three sizes when she got her new pair on Tuesday.

"I wear fives," she said. "I went to the store, and now I wear an eight, so my dad said my feet really grew like a lot."

Experts say foot care is key to good health.

Students at Mary MacArthur and Sherwood Park elementary schools will also receive shoes during the next two days.

"Our school has a lot of need here," said Shannon Sykes, the J.W. Coon counselor who wrote the grant application. "I just knew this would be the perfect fit."

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