LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The fall season is not too far away, and some local car clubs are hoping to spread some positivity for kids in need by collecting donations.
On the surface, the idea is simple: a pair or two of shoes for kids at the Home of the Innocents; however, for members of four Louisville car clubs, the donations meant much more than a simple gesture.
“Growing up, shoes are one of the first things kids look at,” Mopar Muscle Car Club President Fonz told WAVE 3 News. “And it’s a big part of bullying also. Kids also get picked on for shoes and things so we’re just trying to eliminate that and make sure these kids have nice shoes to put on their feet.”
Fonz said the idea came to him about a year ago while his car club and other car clubs were doing charity work downtown at a Halloween Trunk or Treat.
”We noticed that a lot of the kids had old shoes or mix-matched shoes,” Fonz said.
He didn’t like that, so he started coming up with a plan. In March, he started getting groups together to collect new shoes for kids in the community to give them away on Easter Sunday. When COVID-19 hit Kentucky, his plans were put on hold.
“Now things are opening up a little more we want to make sure those kids get those shoes before the fall comes,” Fonz said.
Mopar Muscle Car Club, No Limit Moparz Car Club, Mopar Savages Car Club, and Mob Ties Car Club are teaming up to collect brand new shoes for 52 children at the Home of the Innocents.
“Basically, all of us come together to say we’re still here,” Dezaree Wells, president of No Limit Moparz said. “You know, we may not know you personally but we’re here. We’re going to pull together as one and show you that you’re not alone.”
Sunday, the group will drop off the new pairs of shoes.
“You could be looking down at your shoes and they are all filthy and they got holes in them,” Wells said. “So just opening that box and you see I have a brand-new pair of shoes, clean shoestrings, clean bottoms, it’s pretty much like that kid’s first day of school, you’re happy. It’s not even their birthday and they are getting a new gift. It brings that happiness and joy.”
Julie Spry, Director of Outreach at the Home of the Innocents, said donations like this are helpful.
“It’s fantastic to have these groups that will come together and provide us with some things we would normally have some struggles obtaining,” Spry said. “We all need shoes and it’s something I think many people just take for granted that we can just walk in our closet and walk out the door with a pair of shoes. And that’s not always the case for the kids in our care.”
Spry told WAVE 3 News Fonz collected data on all 52 kids, including their ages, sizes, likes, and interests.
”So we’re really matching [the kids] with shoes that it’s not just an essential item anymore. It’s something they can actually enjoy,” Spry said.
Mopar Muscle Car Club member Jason Baker said helping the community right now is incredibly important.
“So much negativity going on right now so if we can try to do something positive and bring it to the whole community and the city that’s what we’re going to do,” Baker said.
He said shoes seem to help people feel more confident. He has purchased a few pairs of shoes for kids, adding the car clubs are making sure no child is left out.
“There’s just something about shoes that everybody loves,” Baker said. “You know, you open up that box and even if it’s not the first day of school, you going to feel like it is when you put the shoes on and go to school the next day with those shoes on. Everybody compliments you it helps your confidence and makes you feel good about yourself.”
The Home of the Innocents is always looking for donations, but items, like clothes or shoes, must be new. If you would like to see what items the non-profit needs, click or tap here.