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 children in need new athletic shoes to attend school with dignity and joy, prepared to learn, play and thrive.

Today, we help children in thousands of schools across America. Over 1.8 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.

“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!

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 approximately 100,000 children annually at almost 2,000 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