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For 25th Year, Chargers Donate 1,000 Pairs of Shoes
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“Today is the 25th Anniversary of the Back-to-School Shoe Distribution,” said Kimberley Layton, Director of Public Affairs & Corporate/Community Relations. “For 25 years the team has been paying to provide back to school shoes to children throughout the county. Today we’re going to distribute about 1,000 pairs of shoes from four locations, and we have players at every location helping children pick their favorite pair of shoes. This is an event that the players really like because they get to go one-on-one with the kids. They get to really talk with the kids, take them by the hand and walk them down the aisle. They help them try them on, so it’s a real one-on-one with the kids and they really like to spend quality time with each child that participates.”
One of those players was Ryan Mathews, who is quite active in the community.
“It’s fun,” said Ryan Mathews. “It’s my third year and it’s fun to be out here with the kids, walk around the store and find some shoes that they like… You see they get a big, bright smile when they walk into the store and they see you. It really warms your heart just to see it.”
Nearly the entire Chargers roster was divided up into shifts at four locations, including South Bay, National City, San Marcos and the Payless ShoeSource down the street from Chargers Park.
“We’ve been doing this for 25 years and thousands of kids (have been) helped,” said Nick Novak, explaining why this was a particularly special event. “Payless and the Chargers have teamed up, so it’s a wonderful day just to see the kids’ faces looking at a fresh set of shoes. The shoes (they have) look like they’ve been worn for two or three years, so it’s time for them to have a fresh pair of shoes (and) be able to go to school and have pride. I remember when I got my shoes I would clean them with a toothbrush every day after school and try to make them last as long as I can. Now I can afford to get shoes when I want, but you see how it’s such a necessity and how much joy and happiness it gives (the children).”