Kiwanis - Serving the Children of the World
Port Charlotte Sunrise
Serving the Children of the World
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9th Annual "Shoes for Kids" Tennis Shootout a Success!
06/04/2017
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The Shoes for Kids Tennis Shootout held at Twin Isles (April 2017) netted $12,000...

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Loraine Helber, Punta Gorda Housing Authority Ex. Director, Special Speaker
06/02/2017
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Loraine Helber, Executive Director, Punta Gorda Housing Authority, was the Special...

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Merrie Ann Hargreaves, locally known as "The Dog Whisperer" Special Speaker
05/25/2017
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Merrie Ann Hargreaves, know locally as "The Dog Whisperer" gave an...

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Kiwanis Foundation of Charlotte County Awards over $75,000 in Scholarships
05/09/2017
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The Kiwanis Foundation of Charlotte County awarded scholarships to 32 Charlotte...

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Trudy Norsworthy, Professional Bee Keeper, Special Speaker
05/09/2017
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Trudy Norsworthy, professional bee keeper, was the special speaker at the May...

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Lori Burke, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Special Speaker
04/20/2017
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Lori Burke, Program Director, MADD Southwest Florida, Mothers Against Drunk...

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Elizabeth Esposito, Development Manager, Ft. Myers/Southwest Florida March of Dimes - Florida Chapter Special Speaker
04/06/2017
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Elizabeth Esposito, Development Manager, Ft. Myers/Southwest Florida March...

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"9th Annual Tennis Shootout at Twin Isle Country Club a Success!"

The Shoes for Kids Tennis Shootout held at Twin Isles (April 2017) netted $12,000 for the Kiwanis Shoes for Kids Project.  This is approximately 25% of the monetary funds needed to purchase shoes for an academic school.  Great Job, Jak Beardsworth and team!! (Photo L-R) Christy Smith, Founder and Director of "The Shoes for Kids" Project and Jak Beardworth, "Tennis Shoot Out"  Director


"Shoes for Kids" Annual Awards Breakfast

The Port Charlotte Sunrise Kiwanis hosted the annual "Shoes for Kids" Awards Breakfast at it's regularly schedule Thursday morning (September 15th, 2016) meeting at the Cultural Center, Port Charlotte, FL. Awards, Guest Speakers and Special Recognition were on the Agenda - celebrating over 6,000 pairs of shoes distributed to Charlotte County school children!  Here is a list of Award Winners:


2016 SPIRIT AWARD
Charlotte Harbor Parrot Head Club


2016 SHOE TROPHY RECIPIENTS
 Represents 100 pairs, $1,000 or a combination
About Hair Salon
Accurate Accounting
Riverwood BOA (Best Of Attitude) Circles 155 and 156
Charlotte State Bank & Trust
Deep Creek Community Church
Dorothy Aurora
Englewood United Methodist Church
First Presbyterian Church of Port Charlotte
Fish Head Music
Foot and Ankle Center of Charlotte County
Kings Gate
Nancy Sharpless
Jim Morris Kiwanis Shoes for Kids Award: Nav-A-Gator
Port Charlotte Women of the Moose
Bayfront Health Medical Center Auxillary
St. Francis of Assisi Church
Charlie Scheu Kiwanis Shoes for Kids Award: Twin Isles Country Club
Wal-Mart Distribution Center
Wal-Mart Kings Highway
Waste Management of Charlotte County
iHeart Radio
Wini Bender and Ron Wegman
SUN Newspapers
Kays Ponger and Uselton Funeral Home and Cremation Services


2016 GLASS CRESCENT RECIPIENTS
Represents 50 pairs, $500 or a combination
Burnt Store Presbyterian Church
Charlotte County Property Appraiser’s Office
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 
Coldwell Banker Sunstar Morris Realty
Dean’s South of the Border 
Ocean Partners Realty
Palm Automall
Peace River Veterinary Clinic
Donald Whitemarsh
Blue Heron Pines
Good Shepherd
H2U Fawcett Memorial Hospital
Holy Trinity Lutheran
Panther Hollow Dental Lodge
Port Charlotte Elks
Port Charlotte Men of the Moose
Port Charlotte United Methodist Church
Punta Gorda Kiwanis
Temple Shalom
Lexington Manor


2016 WOOD PLAQUE RECIPIENTS
Represents minimum of 25 pairs or $250
Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce
Charlotte County Utilities
Hope Lutheran Church
Just Counters and Other Stuff
Peace River Baptist
Ruth Ann Jones 


Guest Speakers
Principal Jody Poulakis, Peace River Elementary
Counselor Molly Toure, Peace River Elementary
Principal Tina Dionisio, Punta Gorda Middle
Nurse Christi Smith, East Elementary
Counselor Dale Dandy, Sallie Jones Elementary
Asst. Principal Sally Lutz, Port Charlotte Middle
Social Worker Sandi Currier, Port Charlotte Middle
Chantal Phillips and Renee Rebhan, Families First
Mary Crawford and Asst. Principal James Vernon, Deep Creek
Counselor Kristen Rigney, Vineland Elementary
Development Director Wendy Atkinson, AMI Crossroads
Principal Angie Tallon and Joanne McErlane, Neil Armstrong 
LEO Club President Annabel Harrison, Charlotte High
 


"THE SHOES FOR KIDS" 2016 PROJECT SURPASSES GOAL!

(Report From Christy Smith, Founder, "Shoes for Kids" Project

It is with a thankful heart that I send this note to you!  Our goal was 5000 new pairs of sneakers for the 21 schools in our district......we collected (drum roll)..... 5673 pairs of sneakers. 

Here are a few numbers (for numbers folks): 

  • This summer we collected 5673 pairs of new sneakers (in cash and shoes)
  •  
  • This summer we averaged $10.54 per pair purchased (original retail $25 - $50)
  •  
  • This summer we had at least 80 different people working on this project
  •  
  • We have collected 56,973 pairs in 12 years  

 

Here is what it means (in my view):

 

Together we are making a truly appreciative difference in the lives of children in the community in which we live and work.  The families of these children are so appreciative of what you are doing to help, let me describe a few:

 

The single father of 2 girls (elementary and middle) watched as I put carts and carts of sneakers on the belt at Wal-Mart; I told him who I was and that he could go before me because I would be awhile.  I began to explain the project to him ( I am always happy to talk about shoes :()) He stopped me in mid sentence and says "I know about the project, my daughters have received shoes for multiple years". I proceeded to say that I was glad we could help in a small way....He stopped me once again and said "Ma'am you are helping in a big way." ...Of course I thanked him for the kind words on your behalf and tried not to cry before I finished the transaction.

 

The mother whose deaf daughter was entering kindergarten at one of the local elementary  schools called and wanted to know how she could "get on the list" to receive shoes.  I talked a little about the process, gave her the school contact and asked if I could help in another manner.  The mother proceeded to tell me a little about her daughter and her apprehension about letting her daughter go to school, out of her watchful eye.  So I listened, let her talk and at the end of the conversation she knew about the shoe project and little more about the CCPS School System. A heart-warming conversation.

 

The grandmother I met while shopping told me her grandson, who she was raising, looked forward to picking out his own shoes each year. She was so thankful the project was in Charlotte County.

 

A store clerk told me that her son used to get shoes from the project, no longer qualified because he was out of elementary school and his foot was too big.  I smiled and asked how big??? She said a 12; I told her not to worry that we delivered through high school.  I also mentioned the largest size we had given to date was an 18, although if a larger size was ever needed we would find a way to get it. I actually have a 19 and 20 in storage :)

 

So now what about the kids that receive the shoes????  Have you seen them around town? Some are described below:

 

 

(1)          To the eighthgrade student at a local middle school, who walked on his heels to be ascomfortable as possible in his size 10 shoes, when he actually needed a size13, this project is a blessing.  After hewas given the opportunity to select a pair of properly fitting size 13 shoes,he exclaimed “This is my first new pair of shoes that are my very own”.  

 

(2) A military family moved intothe district; the father was an Afghanistan war veteran. He and his family had5 children at the elementary level; times were tough for this family as theywere trying to adjust to civilian life. They shared a home with another family while they were trying to get ontheir feet and thus were considered homeless. When they registered their children for the new school year, thecounselor told them about the shoe project; all 5 children were fitted for newshoes and the parents were overwhelmed!

 

(3) “Little Jimmy” came to thenurse’s office to get a new pair of shoes. His focus was on the ground and he didn’t want to make eye contact. Heasked the nurse quietly if she could help. She said most definitely, Yes!  He was taken to the shoe closet and allowedto pick out his own new pair. He was so happy that he looked up and made eyecontact with the nurse and quietly said “Thank You”.  Later that week the nurse saw “Little Jimmy”on campus; he was standing taller and smiling broadly and he exclaimed, “I lovemy new shoes”.

 

(4) A sixth grade student at alocal middle school was identified as needing new sneakers by one of the schoolpersonnel. His joy and exuberance for the new shoes was very evident.  From that day forward he took it upon himselfto help identify other students on campus with holes in their shoes, shoes withduct tape and shoes with toes sticking out. He was fondly known as the “shoe ambassador” as he worked with schoolpersonnel to help other students receive shoes as needed.

 

------------------------------

 

I hope some of these stories brought a smile to your heart; for that is the success of this project....HEART!

 

Your heart, passion, dedication and faith make this project grow stronger each year; which allow us to serve more children and their families. 

May  your day be as blessed as the blessing that you have provided others!

 



“Shoes for Kids” Says “Thank You Charlotte County!”

Sunrise Kiwanis of Port Charlotte is extremely grateful for your support of the Kiwanis Shoes for Kids Project for the last 11 years. In this time period, 51,035 pairs of new sneakers have been delivered to students in the Charlotte County Public School System.  This amazing statistic is due to the generosity of you; the residents, business owners, employees and out of state family members. 

 

Thanks for believing, thanks for caring, thanks for being so generous with your gifts and talents.  They mean the world to us; the members of Sunrise Kiwanis, the families of the children who receive the shoes and most importantly to the children who are the recipients.  You may not recognize the students who receive these shoes when you are out and about in the County, so let me describe a few of them to you.

 

A seventh grade student, whose sneakers are “busted out” due to wear and tear.  This child comes to school with duct tape covering the worn areas and attempts to run in PE class as to not stand out to his classmates.  He just wants to fit in, have a comfortable pair of shoes that stay dry in the rain.  You help fulfill this wish with your support of the Kiwanis Shoes for Kids Project.

 

A second grade student wants to run on the playground but his feet are sore and is unable to do so without discomfort.  When questioned by school personnel it is determined that the shoes on his feet are 2 sizes too small.  He can only lace them up because he curls his toes before putting them on his feet.  You provide this child with new shoes through your support of the Kiwanis Shoes for Kids Project.

 

A third grade student was a frequent visitor to the nurse’s office complaining of various ailments.  Through discussion with the school nurse the student revealed how sore her feet were from wearing uncomfortable and ill-fitting shoes. The young girl was sized for new properly fitted shoes which she was able to choose on her own.  Her visits to the nurse’s office ceased over the next 2 months.  Your support of the Kiwanis Shoes for Kids Project helped make this young student’s feet happy and put a big smile on her face.

 

These situations have all been told by school personnel who share stories with us at the annual Kiwanis Shoes for Kids breakfast in October.  However, these are only a few of the smiles that are apparent as the children are fitted for their new sneakers.  Some students go whistling down the hallway, others are smiling from ear to ear, sitting a little taller in the classroom and walking a little straighter down the hallway.

 

You are making a truly impactful difference in the lives of these children and their families.  Monthly expenses as well as daily expenditures are very overwhelming for many local families. The Kiwanis Shoes for Kids Project along with all of you partner with the schools to provide these families with new sneakers for those that are in need of them to begin the new school year and throughout the school year as needed.  During the 2015-16 academic year, 6558 new pairs of sneakers have been delivered throughout the Charlotte County Public School System.

 

The 2016 summer shoe drive will begin on June 19th and continue until July 24th.  If you are interested in serving as a collection site for this year’s drive, please contact project coordinator Christy Smith at 941-769-0864 by June 1, 2016.

 

We sincerely appreciate your help in the first 11 years of the project and are hopeful you will be able to assist us again this year as we strive to collect 5,000 new pairs of sneakers for the local school children.  Monetary donations can be sent to: Sunrise Kiwanis of Port Charlotte, 1489 Market Circle Unit 308, Port Charlotte 33953 or Click Here to Donate Safe & Secure Online More information about the project can be found at www.shoesforkidsproject.org. Thank you for being such a blessing!

Respectfully submitted by Christy Smith, Kiwanis Shoes for Kids Project Coordinator


Jim & Sharon Morris Donate $1500 to "Shoes for Kids"

Christy Smith, Founder, "Shoes for Kids" accepted a $1500.00 check from Jim & Sharon Morris at the Nav-A-Gator Grill for Shoes For Kids! Thanks, Jim & Sharon - you are making a difference in the lives of the children of Charlotte County!!


Kiwanis Shoes for Kids Project Exceeds Goal - Over 5,000 Pairs of Brand New Tennis Shoes Collected!

Dear Shoe Family,

How joyful it is to write this note.  Every year I am so happy to tell you about the blessings we have received, however this year it seems even more special.

Maybe because of some of the following:

We raised more monetary donations than in any year past; we actually have some monies remaining for our next delivery which will probably be in September or October.

The collection sites collected more shoes than ever before ---2300+ pairs of sneakers

*YOU are all such amazing people; what a true blessing it is to call you friends and to work on this mission with you!!

We reach our goal of 5,000 new pairs of sneakers, as per the requests of local schools; actually we collected over the goal (5300 pairs)

We had fabulous events at Nav-A-Gator with the Armadillo Band, Kiwanis Shoes for Kids Tennis Shootout at Twin Isles CC, Ice House and Parrot Head Club meeting with Jim Morris

All shoes have been delivered to the local school sites and the staff were all so very appreciative as we rolled in with bags and bags of new sneakers for their students

However, I think it is even more than all of the above....

Together we are fulfilling the mission of providing new tennis shoes to local families as they begin the new school year.  When it seems as though the families cannot handle one more shortcoming, we are here to provide a little kindness to them.  It may not seem like a "big deal" but I have a hunch it is a game changer and maybe even an academic change that cannot be seen outwardly but felt by the heart.

When I look into my closet and see the shoes, I think what if I only had one pair of shoes and what if that one pair was 2 sizes too small, or duck taped to keep out the water.  What if I was embarrassed by my sneakers and would rather not go to school.  What does that feel like?

The students in the Charlotte County School System have angels (YOU) that will always be in their hearts.  They may never know your name or even your face, however they do know that neighbors help neighbors. They know what it is to feel loved and to be blessed by the generosity of others and most importantly they know that they are cared for by Angels who go about the mission with a smile on their face and love in their heart.

Thank you so much for all of your kindness and generosity towards the Kiwanis Shoes for Kids Project from its inception 11 years ago.

May your day be richly blessed!

Christy Smith, Founder and Director

Shoes for Kids Project

http://www.shoesforkidsproject.org


Here's a brief overview from Christy Smith, Founder and Director,  about the 2015 Shoes for Kids Project! 

 

 


 

From the July 4th,2015 Edition of the Charlotte Sun:

New shoes a real confidence builder
By CHRISTY SMITH
Sunrise Kiwanis


Do you remember the smell of a new pair of tennis shoes? Did you own a pair of Chuck Taylors or possibly a pair of Keds? I personally loved the low-top Converse sneakers.

My favorite color was purple — I was a Donny Osmond fan — and I was positive my sneakers were the coolest ones on the block.

I was also sure I could run faster than any other kid in my class.
It was proven on the playground that I was incorrect, however I sure gave it my best shot. I also kept my Converse in tip-top shape. I kept the toes clean and wiped free of black marks, at least for a while. I was proud of my new tennis shoes, and I felt like I was on top of the world with these ultra-cool sneakers! Didn’t you feel the same?

In today’s classroom, some students go without this feeling. As a matter of fact, some students have never had their own new pair of tennis shoes.
The Kiwanis Shoes for Kids Project is attempting to change that for these children. The project provides new tennis shoes for any student in the Charlotte County Public Schools system who needs them to begin the school year.

This year, the goal is 5,000 new pairs of sneakers, to meet the requests of the schools. This includes all elementary, middle and high schools, and centers.

The costs for going back to school continue to rise each year.
Families have the difficult task of continuing to meet these needs, and sometimes they need a little assistance from those who have the ability to help.

If you have not yet donated to the Kiwanis Shoes for Kids Project this summer, would you please consider doing so at this time? We presently have around 2,000 pairs of sneakers toward our goal of 5,000 pairs.

A monetary donation is greatly appreciated, as it helps us buy the sizes that are not collected through the various sites. If you prefer to buy the sneakers, which are also needed, and drop them off at one of the collection sites, you can find a listing at www.
shoesforkidsproject.org.

Monetary donations can be sent to: Sunrise Kiwanis, 1489 Market Circle, Unit 308, Port Charlotte, FL 33953.

Christy Smith is the shoe project coordinator at the Sunrise Kiwanis Club of Port Charlotte.
She can be reached at 941-769-0864 or 941-637-5611.

 


Properly fitted tennis shoes can be a real game changer

Christy Smith - Founder & Director

The Kiwanis Shoes for Kids Project begins its eleventh year on June 21st.  This project started with one mission; to provide new tennis shoes for any child who may need them during the academic school year.  In the first year of the project we delivered 550 new pairs of sneakers, with each successive year the need has increased as well as the awareness of the project.  In the 2014-15 academic year, the Kiwanis Shoes for Kids Project distributed 6,380 new pairs of sneakers to students in the Charlotte County Public School (CCPS) System.

Over the first ten years of the project, the mission has not deviated; we attempt to reach as many children as possible through identification by CCPS school personnel.  After the student has been identified, the CCPS school personnel provide the student with a new properly fitted pair of sneakers. Just as with any multi-faceted structure, it takes a team of individuals working together for a common mission.  The Kiwanis Shoes for Kids Project has been blessed with overwhelming support from school personnel, local businesses and residents. 

Even though it may be hard to imagine a middle school student never having his own new pair of sneakers, it is truly a reality as told by one of the school representatives. When this student was given an opportunity to receive a new pair of sneakers, he asked if he could try on all of the shoes in his size.  Another middle school student raved that the “selections and choices were marvelous”.  Having a choice of a new pair of sneakers may not seem that important to some, however to these students it was a game changer.  A high self-esteem can exude positive self-confidence.  When you feel good and think positive, your confidence soars.

Have you ever tried to fit a pair of braces inside one of the shoes you were placing on your feet? Imagine having to do so on a daily basis.  Through the Kiwanis Shoes for Kids Project we are able to buy wide, specially fitted shoes for students which wear braces daily.  In some cases these are high top shoes which lace above the ankle to provide additional support and stability.  The width of the shoe is also a special consideration which can be taken into account when finding the proper pair of shoes for a student.

When you were playing on the playground in grade school did you have to worry about stones getting in the bottom of your shoes because the soles were coming off? One kindergartner was identified as needing a new pair of shoes; typically the students are selected in a confidential manner and the shoes are given discreetly by the school personnel. This youngster was so excited about receiving new shoes that he sang all the way down the hallway “I am getting new shoes…I am getting new shoes”, then after selecting the ultra-cool Spiderman pair in his size, he returned down the hall singing “I just got new shoes…I just got new shoes”.

Charlotte County you have been a godsend to this project.  As the goal number has increased each year, you have responded with generosity and grace.  Sunrise Kiwanis sincerely thanks you for your kindness and willingness to work with us on this important mission.  Together we are providing a simple, yet basic need for our youth.

We look forward to continuing this mission with you. Together we can and we are making a difference in the lives of local families.

For more information about the project please call Christy Smith, Project Coordinator, at 941-769-0864 or visit our website at   www.shoesforkidsproject.org .  Monetary donations to the Kiwanis Shoes for Kids Project can be sent to: Sunrise Kiwanis of Port Charlotte, 1489 Market Circle Unit 308, Port Charlotte 33953.

Donate a BRAND NEW pair for Tennis Shoes at the these locations:

Click Here for Englewood

Click Here for Port Charlotte

Click Here for Punta Gorda

Click Here to Make a Donation


   

Chris Porter - Executive Editor
Charlotte Sun Newspapers

 

September 19th, 2014

"Shoes for Kids can be something special!"
By CHRIS PORTER, EXECUTIVE EDITOR - Charlotte Sun 

PORT CHARLOTTE — Barbara Holt has given hundreds of pairs of shoes to students over the years, but one pair stands out.
“He was a little kindergartner,” the guidance counselor said. “His friend brought him to me, and she was worried that his shoes were torn up and he was going to fall down
— the bottoms were almost all the way off.”
Holt assured the boy she had some new ones that would fit him, and the boy asked if he could pick out his pair.
“I said, ‘Sure.’ So as we walked down the hall, he started skipping and singing, ‘I’m gonna to get new shoes. I’m gonna get new shoes.’ And then his friend started skipping and singing, ‘You’re gonna to get new shoes.’ People heard them and they were smiling and laughing.
“When we got to the office, I got out the shoes that were his size, and the first ones he saw were a pair of Spider-Man shoes, and his eyes got so big. He put them on and started hopping up and down and singing, ‘I got new shoes, I got new shoes,’ and his friend was singing, ‘You got new shoes.’
“I am so blessed to be able to do this,” Holt said. “This program is very special to me.”
Holt is the school nurse at Kingsway Elementary School in Port Charlotte. The program is Shoes for Kids, which is the brainchild of Christy Smith of the Sunrise Kiwanis in Port Charlotte. Holt told the story to the club members and the people in the community who helped to collect the 5,500 pairs of shoes this year.
Smith and the club invited the corporate partners, leading donors and school workers to breakfast Thursday, and let school nurses and administrators talk about what a decent pair of sneakers can mean to a child.
Debbie Heeg, counselor at Myakka River Elementary School in Englewood East, told of a first-grader who showed up for school on a hot summer day with leather boots up to her knees. She was wobbling because they didn’t fit. The youngster ended up with a pair of sneakers, pink and purple.
Charlotte Harbor Center school nurse Shenna Shine talked about the way shoes can be an extra problem when special needs students wear leg braces. But ill-fitting shoes can ruin any kid’s day, she explained.
“They don’t have happy feet — they have sad feet,” Shine said. “They can’t run or play.”
At Peace River Elementary School in Charlotte Harbor, where 89.6 percent of students are on the free- or reduced-lunch program, principal Jody Poulakis knows of a 5-year-old foster child who’s on her 11th foster home.
“That pair of shoes may be all she’s got that’s really hers,” she said.
Smith, who started Shoes for Kids 10 years ago, gets more shoes every year, as more and more businesses and churches find out about the program and take up collections. Restaurants, clubs and community groups have special events. Offices promote their drives and fill up cardboard boxes. People who don’t feel like shopping for shoes write checks or kick in a few bucks.
Smith says each pair of shoes will go to a school, and will be given to a deserving child before the school year. None will go unworn.
“You make a world of difference,” she told her donors.
 


 



Kiwanis Shoes for Kids Project 

August 18th, 2012
From: Christy Smith, Founder. Chairperson of "Shoes for Kids" & Sunrise Kiwanis Member
RE: "Shoes for Kids"

In the words of Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Charlotte County, We surpassed our immediate goal of 4300 new pairs of sneakers. What an outstanding accomplishment for our community! Hearts and hands bonded together to help the children in our community lace up a brand new pair of sneakers by the first week of classes.

Do you ever wonder if your neighbors know you or even more compelling do they care if you are okay? I believe the compassion and sincerity of helping those in need is alive and well in Charlotte County.

On a recent shoe purchase I was discussing the good will of this project with another individual at the store. She indicated that she had lost the faith that kind and caring individuals were still around. As we continued our discussion, another individual walked up and handed us a monetary donation towards the purchase of the sneakers. I turned back to the first individual, smiled and said “keep the faith”; for it is in fact alive and well here in Charlotte County.

Thank you Charlotte County for all of your support; you are truly making a difference in the lives of the children in our community. As always, we will continue to collect donations throughout the year to fulfill the need of properly fitted footwear for children in the Charlotte County public School System.

Christy Smith and Sunrise Kiwanis