What began in Claremont, California as the vision of one person, has turned into the largest national organization of its kind. Shoes That Fit tackles one of the most visible signs of poverty in America by giving kids in need new athletic shoes to attend school with dignity and joy, prepared to learn, play and thrive. We do this through partnering with corporations and volunteer groups, as well as through individual donations.

Today, we help children in thousands of schools across America. Over 2.4 million pairs of new shoes and other necessities have been raised and distributed…and we’re not done.

Accepting no government funding and with over 90% of contributions going directly to school children through an impressive network of volunteer-run local grassroots chapters, Shoes That Fit is uniquely efficient and effective in our life-changing operations.

Most importantly, we help kids improve their self-esteem and participation at school by eliminating one of poverty’s most visible and debilitating marks.


Why Shoes?...Thoughts from our CEO

Amy Headshot

When someone hears that I work for “Shoes That Fit,” I often see a question in their eyes –why shoes?  It takes a beat for people to realize that there are many children lacking something as basic as decent shoes that fit.

Shoes are expensive.  Kids outgrow them quickly. And not fitting in with your classmates causes shame and embarrassment.

Kids explain the power of a pair of new shoes best – like Victor:

“I really needed shoes because my two shoes ripped. I had to use my Grandma’s shoes and everybody was making fun of me.”

I truly believe that most of us want to make the world a better place, but too often we do not even know where to start. For those of you who want to help change the world, the first step can be as simple as a pair of new shoes.

Amy Fass
CEO and Executive Director

“Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

From our founding to our future

Shoes That Fit Founder, Elodie (Silva) McGuirkIn 1992, in Claremont, California, Elodie (Silva) McGuirk heard the story of a child’s need for new shoes. A little boy came in the classroom crying that his feet hurt. His shoes were way too small and his parents had actually turned his toes under, shoved them into the shoes, laced them up and sent him to school like that.

When Elodie asked what the woman did when she saw that, she said she massaged his feet, put his shoes back on and sent him back to class. Aghast at why the woman didn’t just buy him a new pair of shoes, she said, “We have hundreds of kids like him. We wouldn’t know where to start.”

Galvanized to take action, Elodie posted on a bulletin board and engaged her coworkers at Harvey Mudd College to help deliver shoes to kids in need at that school in Pomona.

Thus, Shoes That Fit was born.

Elodie made it her mission that no child should have to go to school in poorly fitting shoes and suffer embarrassment and pain. From the very beginning, Shoes That Fit partnered volunteers to host the program right in their own communities, and worked directly with schools to identify the kids who needed shoes the most. This provides them with the opportunity to learn and play and thrive!

Elodie served as Executive Director of Shoes That Fit until 2002, and continues to provide support and inspiration to the organization in her retirement. In 2018, Shoes That Fit honored her contributions by launching a planned giving program in her name, Elodie’s Legacy.

Hear Elodie’s story in her own words below.



For Elodie’s full story, click here


Today, we’re the largest national organization of our kind. Shoes That Fit helps more than 100,000 children annually at more than 2,500 schools across the United States.

This is how YOU can help

Every step needs a good pair of shoes

Our Mission

Shoes That Fit tackles one of the most visible signs of poverty in America by giving children in need new athletic shoes to attend school with dignity and joy, prepared to learn, play and thrive.

Our Vision

A new pair of shoes can be a life-changing event for a child. School attendance, self-esteem, and behavior improve. Physical activity increases. Smiles return. All from an often over-looked item — a good pair of shoes. Our vision is that, one day, every child in America who needs new shoes gets new shoes, allowing all children the opportunity to reach their highest potential.

See it in action