For the second year in a row, each and every student at Ignacios Conchos Elementary started off the school year with a special gift. Arizona Worm Farm gave each student a new pair of athletic shoes, measured specifically for them, to help them start the year off on the right foot.

You may be thinking: What is a worm farm? And what do worms have to do with kids shoes? Here’s how it connects:

When Zach Brooks retired, he didn’t start taking it easy. It was time to start something new that aligned with his passion: sustainability. He began Arizona Worm Farm with composting worms that promote a sustainable way of dealing with waste. He wanted his new company to also give back in the south Phoenix community. He wanted to put himself into another’s shoes to see how he could help. “We found one of the things we could do quickly and easily is buy a pair of new, first-day-of-school shoes for all the kids” said Zach. Lack of good shoes can be an obstacle to kids attending school and focusing on their studies. A new pair of shoes, on the other hand, can boost kids’ attendance, physical activity, and self-confidence.

Zach and his wife Nancy couldn’t do it alone. So they mobilized their business associates and friends through Facebook.  Nancy shared their goal, the impact a pair of shoes can have, pictures from past deliveries, and thank you notes from kids helped. Zach and Nancy’s community enthusiastically pitched in and helped them purchase brand new shoes for 417 students – the entire student body – at Ignacio Conchos School. They even brought a team of volunteers to help with delivery – handing out shoes and helping kids try on their new sneakers.

News 12 covered the story and asked kids for their reactions. One little guy shared: “I like them!” and another expressed how “grateful and excited” he was to have a new pair of shoes for the new school year.

Thanks, Arizona Worm Farm, Zach & Nancy, and friends for investing in little Arizonans!