People In Need, Inc. of Delaware County Ohio (PIN) recently concluded the 2022 School Shoes program, which has proven to again be a lifeline for families in Delaware County. With the rising cost of living, outfitting their children with new school supplies, clothes, and shoes has been a challenge for too many this year.
“We were thrilled to be able to grow the School Shoes program with the help of our friends. By increasing both the number of vouchers awarded and their value, we have been able to make a huge difference for these families. Hearing their stories and seeing their gratitude and the excitement on the kids’ faces has reminded all of us about the importance of what we do,” said Kathy Hoff, PIN’s Executive Director.
The annual program, which began in 1999, expanded this year to provide 500 students in Delaware County with $40 vouchers to purchase a new, properly fitting pair of shoes to begin the school year. In partnership with the United Way of Delaware County’s Supplies for Scholars program on July 28 & 29, the bulk of vouchers available were distributed to approved students receiving supplies. In all, the United Way assisted about 1,000 students with school supplies those same days, and even more in the time since.
“The process this year was incredibly smooth,” said Hoff. “Having our clients in one spot to receive our shoe vouchers and the United Way’s supplies took a burden off those families who otherwise would have to make multiple trips to different locations. Every student deserves to start the school year on the right foot, and we are thrilled that we could be part of that effort once again.”
Following the primary distribution, a secondary application opened with additional vouchers available. After just two days, the applications had all been filled. Qualified students had to be between the ages of 4-18, attend a school in Delaware County, and live in a Delaware County household at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
“This has also been a great opportunity to provide information about our other services to these families. Each one of them also qualified to take part in our Food Insecurity Programs, and we have welcomed several of them to our facility already. Every bit helps, especially right now with the cost of groceries,” Hoff added.
PIN’s Director of Development and Marketing Dan Coutcher said, “What I’ve found truly remarkable about this year’s program is the level at which our community has allowed us to operate. On distribution day, our friends and sponsors had already provided more than 95% of our $20,000 goal for School Shoes through gifts made directly to the program. And just this week, Rev. David Kendall-Sperry and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Delaware stepped forward to close the remaining gap. Thanks to them, no funding had to be pulled from our general fund, and that money is now free to use in our other initiatives like Food Insecurity, Eviction Prevention, and other areas of critical need.”
Major supporters of the program included PIN’s Gold Level sponsors: the Rotary Club of Olentangy, First Commonwealth Bank, Lewis Center United Methodist Church, SOLUT!, and the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie #376. Each gift made was critical in reaching the organization’s goal of 500 pairs of shoes for local students. A special thank you is also due to PIN’s partners at Tanger Outlets, who assisted in arranging a special voucher for these families.
More information about PIN’s School Shoes and Supplies program can be found on online at DelawarePeopleInNeed.org/shoes.