happy feetOWENSBORO, Ky. (8/13/13) - Needy children in ten counties in Western Kentucky now have the opportunity to wear new, top-of-the-line sneakers thanks to the Happy Feet organization.
 
Happy Feet, originated in Union County by founder and President Jerry Baird is now in its fifth year. It currently serves Caldwell, Crittenden, Daviess, Henderson, Hopkins, Livingston, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Union, and Webster counties.
 
Baird brought the idea to life after reading a newspaper article from Evansville, IN. about an anonymous donor that gave every student in a school a new pair of shoes at Easter. The difference, though, said Baird, is that Happy Feet is “trying to address the more needy in all the schools.”
 
The program is mostly donation based from businesses and private donators but there is also an annual pork chop sale and 5k to benefit, as well.
 
The children are chosen by their school’s family resource but given the donated shoes anonymously because of privacy issues.
 
“Children are getting Nike shoes that they never would have been able to afford,” Baird said.
 
In its first year, Happy Feet gave away 400 pairs of shoes in Union County, and last year the total of all the counties was close to 2,500 pairs. In total, Baird believes his program has give away 10,000 shoes in five years to needy kids.
 
“We’re predicting 5,000 kids being served this year,” Baird said.
 
Happy Feet intents to boost the children’s self-esteem, making them equal to other kids that can afford the expensive shoes, therefore making the kids become better students.
 
“A happy student becomes a better learner,” Baird said.
 
You can donate to Happy Feet or learn how to volunteer on Facebook

Taylor Riley
SurfKY News

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