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Children Get Shoes and More From Payless

Published:Tuesday | December 8, 2015 | 3:51 PMDaviot Kelly
Sonja Rowe (left), store clerk at Payless ShoeSource in Sovereign Centre, ensures that this youngster's shoe fits perfectly.
Sonja Rowe (right), store clerk at Payless ShoeSource in Sovereign Centre, assists a ward of the State in selecting his pair of shoes.
Stacy Wright (centre), store clerk at Payless ShoeSource in Sovereign Centre, assists girls who are wards of the State in selecting shoes at the store during Payless' Shoes4Kids annual Christmas treat.

Showing miles as wide as pools, children from the Maxfield Park and Homestead places of safety received shoes from Payless ShoeSource, Sovereign Centre on Wednesday, December 9 as part of the company's annual Shoes4Kids Programme.

The programme provides shoes for 400 children every Christmas. Each year in Latin America and the Caribbean, Payless ShoeSource supports children in the local communities where they operate. This year's execution saw Payless ShoeSource continuing their partnership with the Child Development Agency (CDA). Country manager for Payless in Jamaica, Nikeisha Critchlow, said the staff members always look forward to this initiative.

"When you get a chance to really connect with the children, and you know that many of them don't even get a gift for Christmas, we like to be able to do that for them at this time of the year," she said. "When they come in and get a chance to come and pick their own shoes, it's a big deal for them."

Throughout the region, nearly 5,000 children in need enjoy a new pair of shoes for the holiday season through Shoes4Kids. The various children's homes send the names of the children they feel are most in need of the footwear.

In addition to giving vouchers to the 400 children, Payless hosts 30 lucky ones who are selected to come to the launch of each season's programme at the Payless branch at Sovereign Centre. Those children are given a complete one-day treat that involves more than just getting shoes.

"We are now partnering with Palace Amusement, who treat the children to a movie, and KFC will be giving them lunch," said Critchlow. "With the other children, dependent on where the home is located, we bring them into the stores and they get to pick their shoes."

At Wednesday's event, the excited children couldn't wait to get their feet measured to ensure they had the perfect fit. It didn't matter whether the shoe was for school or church, it was theirs to choose. Staff eagerly went through various pairs with each child, making sure everyone left with the ideal pair. Fittings complete, there were high-fives in celebration between them and Payless staff.

Manager at the Maxfield Park home Winston Bowen, who was also representing the CDA head Rosalee Gage-Grey, expressed immense gratitude for the initiative.

"The donations you make today will help the children. Some are going to school, some will be at home, some are looking forward to their annual Christmas party," he said. "And we want to tell you that what they are selecting today will be very, very useful."

Shoes4Kids has been organised by Payless ShoeSource in the United States in 2008 and then taken overseas in 2009. In 2014, Latin America and the Caribbean Payless ShoeSource stores donated more than US$150,000 to Shoes4Kids.