OAKLAND, CALIF./ OCTOBER 03, 2018/ More than forty community volunteers gathered at the My New Red Shoes (MNRS) warehouse Saturday, September 22nd in Alameda to pair, bag, and sort new shoes for economically disadvantaged children and youth in Oakland Unified School District. Individual community members and parent-child volunteer pairs from National Charity League, San Ramon Inc. and Ross Stores, Inc. worked together to organize shoes for distribution to students with the greatest need in Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). In addition to new shoes, students also receive a clothing retail shopping card to go back-to-school shopping at Old Navy.
Shopping for clothing and receiving a pair of new shoes at the beginning of the school year boosts the confidence, optimism and social inclusion of students experiencing economic hardship and creates positive social experiences that can have a lasting impact on building resilience in local communities.
After distributing gift bags to students at Bret Harte Middle School, Nida Khalil, OUSD Family Resource Coordinator, shared, “the joy that this gift brings our students is beyond words! I never thought that new shoes and clothing would give a child as much confidence as I’ve seen with some of these kids, upon getting their amazing gift of shoes and gift card from My New Red Shoes. They know that no matter what the financial situation is at home, they won’t have to worry and can proudly walk around with their new shoes and clothing. Thank you!”
“Homeless and low-income families grapple with food insecurity, making it difficult to pay for medical expenses or to find stable housing. This makes providing their children with the basic necessities of appropriate school clothing a persistent struggle,” said Darbi Howard, Oakland Operations Director of My New Red Shoes. “I’ve spent my life working to counteract the consequences of poverty and homelessness, and I’m excited about the impact MNRS is making in the lives of the East Bay’s most vulnerable children and youth.”
In the San Francisco Bay Area alone, more than 150,000 children live below the federal poverty line. From 2012-2016, an estimated 28% of Oakland California children lived below the federal poverty threshold according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The impact of poverty on children’s health and well-being can alter cognitive and socio-emotional development and physical health. Living in prolonged poverty affects learning and school performance, and causes physical and lasting mental health consequences.
The mission of My New Red Shoes is to help homeless and low-income children look and feel confident as they start the school year by providing them with new clothing and shoes and rallying youth and adults around this effort through volunteer opportunities for individuals, families, schools, corporations and community groups.
The chronic burdens of family economic hardship are difficult to untangle. Research shows that unaddressed adverse childhood experiences can have harmful, lifelong consequences.
Joanne Gouaux, Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors at My New Red Shoes believes that as a community, we have an opportunity to support local children’s resilience to adversity by promoting confidence and hope.
“The gift of new shoes is an exciting, positive experience for kids who persistently struggle against the odds,” said Ms. Gouaux, a longtime East Bay resident.