Letter: Rotary’s Happy Feet program continues helping students

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 8, 2020

The Happy Feet Shoe Voucher Program kicked off in October at Shoe Carnival. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Salisbury, the project is now in its fifth year. For the first time, all third graders in the Rowan-Salisbury School System are able to participate to receive a free pair of shoes.

The idea for Happy Feet did not originate in Rowan County. The history of Rotary and Happy Feet goes back decades, all the way to the West Coast. Rotary, known for not having to re-invent the wheel, had Happy Feet come from California to the Pinehurst Rotary Club. When Rotarian Henry Brown moved from Pinehurst to Salisbury, he brought the idea for Happy Feet with him.

This year brought new challenges for the project with COVID-19. Rotary Club members scrambled to figure out a way to get the children to the shoe store. Last year, RSS was able to bus students directly to Shoe Carnival to make their shoe selections. This year, with the help of store manager Erin Michaud and her competent staff, students can come to the store at their family’s convenience any time during business hours. Then, students will be fitted and helped to find their own unique pair of shoes. So far, 493 third-graders have received new shoes this fall through Happy Feet. The deadline for students to participate has been extended to November 15.

Special thanks to Fred and Alice Stanback for their generous help.

— Chris Bradshaw