Several local organizations hold school supply drives every year to hand out free supplies to students who need them, but the Mission Community Outreach Center has chosen to focus on collecting new shoes and socks for local children heading back to school.
The eighth annual School Shoes for Kids drive is collecting shoes for students in grades K-8 through Friday. The shoes will be distributed at the Outreach Center, located at 1906 E. Mission Ave., from noon to 7 p.m. Aug. 17 and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 18.
The Outreach Center distributes used clothing throughout the year. Several years ago the organization noticed that parents would frequently ask for shoes for their children, particularly at the start of the school year, said office administrator Ali Norris. The center would sometimes have used shoes available, but not many.
Then the idea came to collect new shoes as part of a back-to-school supply drive. “We thought we would go a different avenue because so many groups already do school supplies,” Norris said.
They need shoes of all sizes for both girls and boys. They also collect new socks so each child gets a new pair of socks to go with their shoes.
“We ask usually for athletic shoes so they can use them for P.E. and to play outside,” Norris said.
Last year the Outreach Center collected and distributed more than 1,000 pairs of shoes, it’s biggest year yet. This year they want to do even better.
“Our goal is to have 1,300 pairs of shoes,” she said. “The event continually grows every year. It’s going to be a big event and we’re excited about it.”
Local churches, businesses and community groups have been collecting new shoes for the Outreach Center. Anyone interested in donating can drop shoes off at the center or call the center at (509) 536-1084 to have them picked up.
Parents need to bring their children to the distribution event so the child can be properly fitted for new shoes. Everyone is welcome; there are no ZIP code restrictions. Parents will be asked to provide identification.
It takes 100 volunteers to put on the distribution, and the Outreach Center is still looking for people willing to help, Norris said. Anyone interested in volunteering can visit
Other collections, events
There are several options for families that also need school supplies in addition to a new pair of shoes.
The Salvation Army will be handing out supplies and backpacks for students in grades K-12 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Aug. 15 on their campus at 222 E. Indiana Ave. Parents must provide picture identification, proof of address and proof of children living in the home.
Free supplies will be provided to children attending Unity in the Community in Riverfront Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 18. Children in grades K-8 must get a passport stamped at booths in the Cultural Village in order to receive the supplies.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center will be giving out school supplies from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 25 at the center, located at 845 S. Sherman St. Parents must fill out an application at the center or online at
One Heart Spokane will host a back-to-school event for children in grades K-6 at three locations from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 18: the West Central Community Center at 1603 N. Belt St., Grant Elementary at 1300 E. Ninth Ave. and the One Heart Center at 1827 E. Pacific Ave. Each elementary school child will receive a free haircut, shoes, hygiene items and lunch. The event will not include school supplies.