Around 25 volunteers from the Pike fraternity, Old Navy and others teamed up to give away free shoes to 36 kids.
Photo donated by Jenny Tormey
The Pike fraternity gave away free pairs of shoes Monday to 36 kids who walked away with much happier feet.
Working together with Old Navy, the Pi Kappa Alpha (Pike) fraternity spent a around three hours of their time to brighten the day of more than 30 pre-selected children from the El Dorado Park Boys & Girls Club, located at 1343 E. Barstow Ave.
“It was definitely a different experience for all of us,” said senior Richard Lazaro-Alonso, president of Pike. “It was an eye-opener for a lot of us that kind of take things for granted. There are individuals out there who are in greater need of something just as simple as shoes.”
The giveaway took place around 2 p.m. at the Wesley United Methodist Church, which shares the same space as the El Dorado Park Boys & Girls Club. There, in the church’s Fireside room, around 25 volunteers sat by four long tables lined with boxes of shoes, each labeled with a child’s name.
Excited, the kids got out of school around 3 p.m. and came by the church to put on their shoes for the first time, Lazaro-Alonso said.
“Just watching them put the shoes on—it was like opening Christmas presents,” said sophomore Ralph Ruiz, social committee member at Pike.
The kids were able to take their shoes outside for a test run, Ruiz said. The lawn outside gave them plenty of room to break in their brand new footwear.
The shoe giveaway was a first for sophomore Jeremy Record, who joined Pike late last year. It was one he won’t likely soon forget.
“I just had a smile on the whole time,” Record said. “Great things were happening, I thought.”
Record said he believes that showing compassion will teach the kids a valuable moral lesson about the importance of giving back to the community.
The money for the shoes came from a Mud Volleyball fundraiser, which took place at the end of the 2012 spring semester, Lazaro-Alonso said.
The Pike fraternity raised more than $7,000 from the Mud Volleyball fundraiser, a portion of which was spent on the new shoes.
The donations won’t stop at just footwear, Lazaro-Alonso said. The fraternity will donate over $4,000 of the remaining funds to the El Dorado Park Boys & Girls Club.
Organizers said $1,000 will be donated to the organization for new and enhanced programs.
During the months of September to May 2013, $3,400 will be donated monthly to Bulldog Pantry, which runs food distribution to the Boys & Girls Club.
Lazaro-Alonso said the fraternity did not choose the site at random. A lot of thought and planning went into finding the right site.
“We really targeted that particular facility because of the area it’s in,” he said. “We could make a big impact, a big difference, in that community.”
The remaining $2,000 will be donated to Hoover High School to be used wherever it is needed the most.
Lazaro-Alonso said he believes change can come to a community so long as there are those who want to help.
“There are a lot more individuals who could benefit from some kind of service like this,” Lazaro-Alonso said. “Hopefully we inspired others to be more engaged in the community as we are.”