During the course of my career, I have been able to attend many impressive functions – but the Allina Health “New Shoes, Healthy Kids” event on April 18th has become the gold standard in my opinion. For the second year in a row, Allina worked with Two Ten (as part of Footwear Cares) to obtain and distribute 10,000 pairs of athletic shoes to kids in need in Minneapolis and surrounding communities. I had been told that the event last year was incredible – but sometimes, as it’s said, “seeing is believing.”
When I arrived early Saturday morning at Allina’s headquarters in Minneapolis, I was surprised at how many families were already in line with their children to be fitted for shoes. In fact, there were about 400 families waiting; kids – many wearing flip flops – were excited and the energy was high! And this was just one of 16 distribution locations. In total, Allina Health had 2,000 volunteers assembled to properly fit elementary school aged kids with footwear. It was incredible – and the line was like that all day long. In total, 10,000 kids were fitted with athletic shoes, a basic necessity that many kids lack. Allina Health believes that giving kids a pair of shoes allows them to play and to be active. We agree.
I’m grateful for the experience that participating in Allina Health’s event provided me. I’m equally thankful to our valued partners BBC, Inc., BCNY/Synclaire Brands and New Balance for making the athletic shoes available in support of this important initiative. Special thanks to Amazon Fashion for supporting Footwear Cares month and helping to bring an entire industry together in volunteerism.