100 students receive new Nike shoes

Published: Dec. 10, 2009 at 9:54 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 14, 2009 at 10:17 PM EST
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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Almost all the students at Albany's Turner Elementary School are considered economically disadvantaged. Many of them may not get much for Christmas because their parents simply can't afford to buy gifts. An organization called HEART stepped in.

This is one of those stories that will warm your heart. A group of employees and retirees from P&G called Heart, which stands for Hands Extended across reaching together, has reached out to 100 students at Turner Elementary to help them stand tall and put their best foot forward.

One at a time They each received their gifts. Gifts that didn't come out of Santa's big red bag, but might as well have. 100 students at Turner Elementary School received their very own, brand new pair of Nike shoes. Anne Johnson Milledge said, "We realize that the economy is bad for us, those of us who have jobs, but it's even worse for those who are economically challenged already."

96% of the students at Turner are from disadvantaged homes. "It's hard. It's hard to live now days," said Charmane Schofield.  She says she's so proud her son now has a new pair of Nike's.

It's something she wouldn't have been able to put under the Christmas tree herself this year. "It makes me feel real good," said Schofield.  "I was sitting here about to cry, 'cause to see these little young' uns so happy and people do stuff like that, there ain't too many people that do stuff like this and it's wonderful."

Kimberly Harrell says she is honored that complete strangers would reach out to help provide for her little girl.  She said, "It's just a blessing and honor and I really do appreciate it because it's so hard for parents, you know, like me, I struggle every day and try to keep clothes on my kids back. It's really an honor for them to do this for me and they don't even know me."

HEART challenged the students to put their best foot forward in everything they do. With brand new shoes, they'll be able to do just that.  "For them to think that somebody cared about them enough to think about them and to get them shoes and Nike shoes at that, yes, it helps with their self-esteem. Helps them to do better, to behave better and just feel better about themselves," said Assistant Principal Carrie Kirkland.

And it makes their parents feel better too, knowing that their children are taken care of. Schofield said, "My son's so happy that he got a pair and I appreciate everybody that's done this for my child."

Harrell said, "You just don't know how it makes me feel to know that someone out there really do care about us." A caring act, that comes straight from the H.E.A.R.T.

What's even more heart warming is that HEART hopes to put shoes on the feet of all 500 students at Turner Elementary and then move on to other schools in Dougherty County. And every student that got a pair of shoes Thursday, got a size just perfect for them.

Nike gave the group an incredible discount for the shoes, each pair cost only about $15. If you'd like to donate to HEART, Call 883-0200 or send them a check to PO Box 4433 Albany, GA 31706.

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