(Fremont County, WY) – The Orchards Church in Lander and Foundations for Nations in Riverton teamed up with Sole Mission this past weekend to provide new shoes for all local school-aged kiddos in need.
Numbers provided by each local organizer added up to a combined total of 158 new pairs of shoes given out – each kiddo also received a free pair of socks with their new shoes.
Sole Mission was founded in 2008 by Texas couple Kelly and Alisa Ward. Since then, they have helped provide over 500,000 pairs of new shoes across the U.S.
This was Sole Mission’s very first time distributing shoes in Fremont County; both Kelly and Alisa attended the two events.
“We try to be at everybody’s first couple of distributions and then after that, we just provide the shoes and they can do their own organization,” said Kelly.
All of the shoes they distribute are brand new and offer an array of sizes so they can find the right fit. An athletic style of shoe is what they stick to so they can be worn to school. However, they do their best to make sure there are a variety of options within that category.
“Just like every child has their own personality, every shoe is a little different,” Alisa shared with County 10. “We try to have something that’s just for them. I’m a person that doesn’t want everybody to go back to school, and children say, ‘hey, you got those shoes from the free distribution.’ We want them to go back to school and feel just like everybody else that got brand new shoes.”
Sole Mission has also partnered with the sock company Bombas to provide a new pair of socks with each new pair of shoes.
County 10 had the opportunity to talk with The Orchards Church pastors Todd and Angela Pettibone during their distribution at the Lander Rural Fire (LRF) Station in Milford.
For the past two years, they have partnered with the LRF by providing snacks to the department as a way to say thank you and build those relationships so things like the shoe giveaway can happen, Todd shared.
Sole Mission held their second shoe giveaway in Laramie the weekend before they were in Fremont County. According to Todd, the Laramie New Life Church pastor Matt Baumgartner is from Texas and knows Kelly and Alisa which is how they started distributing in Wyoming. This year, Matt contacted them to see if they would be interested in hosting a giveaway as well and they jumped on the opportunity.
LRF shared they were happy to team up with The Orchards Church and make this possible for our local community.
Several volunteer firefighters with the department pitched in to help make sure everything went smoothly and give out some Fremont County Fire Protection District goodies – some took this very seriously (we won’t name anyone specifically👇).