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Operation Lace-Up gets homeless kids shoes before school starts

2013 August 15
by HISD Communications

More than 7,400 HISD students were identified as homeless during the 2012–2013 school year, and thanks to one new district partner, more than half of them will be getting a new pair of shoes just in time for the new school year.

FOCUS North America, a faith-based organization that won a grant from the socially responsible TOMS Shoe Company earlier this year, is donating 5,000 pairs of shoes to HISD through its “Operation Lace-Up” program. About 3,797 pairs of shoes will be delivered to HISD in August, then sorted and distributed to eligible students throughout the year. Another 1,203 shoes will be delivered in the spring.

“We’re pretty fortunate in that we receive grants and funds from various sources to purchase uniforms, underwear, socks, and shoes for our homeless students,” explained HISD homeless liaison Bernadette Cardenas. “But donations like this one definitely help. Let’s face it: homeless students are already facing a number of challenges, like moving from motel to motel, or living in their car. We try really hard to make sure they’re not the stinky kid or the one who sticks out because they look different or don’t have the appropriate clothes on. Every student should at least have several uniforms to wear. We even work with the schools whose uniforms have logos to make sure the homeless kids don’t look different.”

The first distribution event will take place from noon until 4 p.m. on Fri., Aug. 23, during Peck Elementary School’s second annual Back-to-School Extravaganza.

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