Over 7,000 Columbus children from low-income families will receive brand-new, athletic style shoes courtesy of Ohio Governor, Mike DeWine’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. The GOFBCI will provide Operation Warm shoes to over 2,000 children in Head Start programs and the remaining to faith-based organizations in the Columbus area.
Last year, the GOFBCI office partnered with Operation Warm, a national nonprofit that manufactures brand-new coats for children in need, to launch a pilot that provided brand-new shoes. The program was executed in partnership with Community Action Agencies and gifted new shoes to over 5,000 children across the state.
2020 marked a milestone for Operation Warm, as they gifted their 4 millionth brand-new coat, and now, the nonprofit has expanded its mission to include brand-new shoes. “Last year, our survey data told us that in addition to coats, shoes were an essential need for the children we serve,” said Grace Sica, Executive Director for Operation Warm. “We responded with a pilot program that distributed 10,000 pair of brand-new shoes in select U.S. markets. The feedback from teachers, parents, and the kids has been resoundingly positive. This initiative would not have been possible without support from partners like Ohio Governor DeWine and his team at GOFBCI.”
“Nearly 20% of local children live in poverty and a pair of well-fitting shoes is an essential item for families in our community,” said Michele Reynolds, Director of GOFBCI. “We are proud to partner with Operation Warm on this initiative to make an impact on our community – especially this year when more families than ever are in need. Kids should have the opportunity to dream big - even a small thing like a pair of shoes can open the door.”