Knoxville, TN (August 2, 2020) – The Knoxville Area Urban League’s 18th annual Shoes for School program became a drive-through and pickup event this year. The traditional festival in Caswell Park was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. KAUL and partner agencies arranged delivery or pickup of more than 1,500 pairs of new tennis shoes and 3,000 backpacks filled with school supplies, including protective face masks.
On Saturday, Aug. 1st, a drive-up social distancing pick-up site was set up in the parking lot next to the KAUL building at 1514 E. Fifth Avenue in East Knoxville. Parents with their schoolchildren in tow, drove up to pick-up their pre-ordered shoes and backpacks filled with school supplies. Boxes of shoes were also sent to participating agencies with storage for later distribution.
“A pandemic can’t stop Knoxville from giving schoolchildren the help they need,” KAUL President and CEO Phyllis Y. Nichols said. “Our organization coordinated pickup or delivery to ensure kids get their shoes and school supplies before school opens. We are especially grateful to our sponsors for stepping up at a tremendous time of need and ensuring that this event could be held.”
Support from the Tennessee Valley Authority, Covenant Health, in coordination with nonprofit partner agencies assisted the KAUL to continue the vital “Shoes for School” 2020 program.
The shoes are pre-ordered by participating agencies that sign up those in need. Each year, thousands of children ages 5-12 also attend the event to gather much needed school supplies. The new event format ensured the children and their families could receive both shoes and supplies in a safe manner.
Nichols encourages companies, organizations and individuals who have supported Shoes for School previously as booth sponsors to make donations at www.thekaul.org.
“COVID-19 changed everything for everybody, but there are some things we can control and this is one of them,” Nichols said. “We are seeing an increased need for support, especially among families, and with the help of our sponsors and our community, we can provide these basic tools for education. We look forward to being back at Caswell Park in 2021.”
About the Knoxville Area Urban League: Since 1968, the Knoxville Area Urban League has assisted disadvantaged people to attain social and economic stability and self-sufficiency through direct services and advocacy. The League works to: provide a skilled and diverse workforce; increase homeownership; support economic and small business development, and enhance education efforts for our youth. The Knoxville Area Urban League is a United Way partner agency and affiliate of the National Urban League. The League’s work and results are evident in the lives of the over 8,000 people it impacts each year.
For more information, call 865-524-5511 or visit www.thekaul.org.