Happy Feet 8 9

HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (8/9/17) — Hopkins County Happy Feet volunteers understand first hand how a new pair of shoes is a huge step in the right direction.

The nonprofit, established 2012, has provided 2,956 new pairs of shoes through community and business donations. All funds raised go toward the purchase of brand-name shoes for several county students each year. The all-volunteer organization has no administration costs or salaries.

About 633 students attending Hopkins and Dawson Springs school districts will be sized for shoes next month.

Happy Feet organizers also anticipate they will need about 1,500 pairs of socks.

The organization has partnered with law enforcement and fire department agencies in an effort to provide two pairs of new socks to each student that receives new shoes this fall.

Happy Feet Committee Member Chip Tate said the charity is excited about the first-responders effort and involvement throughout the process.

“It really levels the playing field with children,” he said. “It takes out the bullying … it brings all the kids together and it’s been a blessing to see children’s lives changed.”

Madisonville Police Department, Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office and Madisonville Fire Department are collecting packages of black, low-cut/no show socks for students K-12. Socks can be dropped off at the HCSO, MPD, MFD or Happy Feet’s office at 1776 N. Main St. in Madisonville.

Charity organizers say a student’s physical and mental health is their main agenda, noting lack of basic personal items can take away from students learning, and a new pair of shoes can help build self-esteem.

Sheriff Matt Sanderson said he is glad the office is involved in the sock drive this year, and they will have a collection box at the Sheriff’s Office.

“To me, what they do is an outstanding thing in assisting children,” he said. “We think it’s a step in the right direction.”

MFD Chief Ray Wyatt said their sock collection barrels will be at all four stations, and if people don’t want to shop for socks, firefighters will accept monetary donations to forward directly to the charity.

MPD Chief Wade Williams also noted a sock collection bin is available for donations inside the police station.

“We are a strategic partner with Happy Feet,” Williams said. “A long time ago, we instituted the school resource officer program, and we really believe in it … we’re always working to get it right when it involves kids.”

Tate recognized children’s need for socks, MPD Lt. Andy Rush said, and that’s when police partnered with Happy Feet to launch the sock drive.

Rush said last year a student was unable to get the size shoes he needed. One of the officers had just purchased new shoes that happened to be the same size the child needed.

“The officer went home and brought in his new pair of shoes,” Rush said.

Chairwoman Cheri McNary announced the Hopkins County Happy Feet 3rd Annual Sweet Feet dessert and wine tasting fundraiser is coming up Sept. 26 at Mahr Park.

The event, to be hosted by meteorologist Wayne Hart, begins 5:30 p.m. including music by Sean Stemaly. Tickets are available for $40 each at Independence Bank locations in Madisonville.

For more information, visit http://www.hopkinscountyhappyfeet.com or email mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Doreen Dennis
SurfKY News Director
Region 2

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