The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula took 100 kids shopping for free shoes at Payless Shoesource at the Soldotna Peninsula Center Mall recently. “The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula applied for and received a grant for 100 pair of shoes through the Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program,” explained Natasha Ala, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula. “We were one of the charitable agencies from all 50 states, as well as Canada, Puerto Rico and 11 Latin American countries chosen to receive $20 coupons for children’s shoes. For three Fridays in January, our central clubs, Nikiski, Kenai and Soldotna, took club members to the Payless ShoeSource in Soldotna to use the 100 merchandise certificates for children’s shoes we received,” said Ala. “It was a lot of fun the kids were excited to shopping for their shoes and really had a great time picking out their shoes,” added Kim Lee Soldotna unit director who accompanied the kids on their shopping spree.

This is the fifth year of the Payless GivesTM Shoes 4 Kids program. Although studies show that properly fitting shoes are important for children’s health and development, a striking number of children don’t own a pair of shoes that fit. “We are working to remedy that here in Alaska,” said Ala. “The Boys & Girls Club’s mission is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. Through generous donations from organizations such as Payless ShoeSource we are able to keep our fees low, while still providing quality programs for families in the communities we serve. By helping families who struggle to provide their children with basic essentials on a daily basis the Boys & Girls Club, in partnering with the Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program, hopes to relieve some of the stress parents feel during these hard economic times and bring joy to as many children as possible,” she said.

“Some of the kids were very savvy shoppers and figured how they could get two pairs for their $20 certificate,” said Lee. “We want to give a shout out to the folks at the Soldotna Payless store who helped correctly fit 100 pairs of shoes on our Boys & Girls Club member’s feet it was quite an effort and they were meticulous with each child,” said Ala. For more information about the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula please visit our website at or call 907-283-2682.