Augusta, Georgia (WJBF) – The students attending Southside Elementary School got a big surprise from a nonprofit in a way many would never guess.
South Carolina based non-profit ‘Samaritans feet’ is celebrating its 15th year. And Wednesday, the group gave more than 500 students at Augusta’s Southside Elementary a new pair of kicks.
“Well I just got a phone call and the phone call said were gonna choose Southside and your students to be apart of this wonderful event and we want to bless all of your students of shoes and everyone that serves,” said Mrs. Tonya Bradburn, Principal of Southside Elementary School
The nonprofit had help from local radio station WAFJ to sponsor the giveaway.
“Today we’re taking the opportunity to sit down, look them in the eye, talk to them about their life and what they want to do with their life and things like that, encourage them,” said David Perry, 88.3 WAFJ Radio Host.
Community leaders all over the CSRA came out to help the students gain a different perspective.
“Because you know in a year from now these shoes that we’re giving them are probably going to be in a trash dump somewhere, but the words of encouragement, the words of hope that we’re giving them, we hope will last a lifetime,” said Terry Tolbert, Executive Director of Samaritan’s Feet.
They even started with a prayer before volunteers took their places.
Then, students entered and sat down.
Once it was time for the event, the volunteers washed the students’ feet one-by-one while offering encouragement.
Organizers say THAT is where the experience lies.
“Kid earlier said he wanted to be an astronaut when he grew up, that’s awesome. You have to be so brave to be an Astronaut, so smart, and work so hard, go for it we can’t wait to see you do that and so I think that affirmation is really important for these kids,” said David Perry, 88.3 WAFJ Radio Host.
Once the students were done getting washed ups, the volunteers laced up their new shoes and sent them on their way back to class– with a cool backpack to go with it.
“So I felt very blessed that we were chosen to be apart of such a wonderful event,” said Mrs. Tonya Bradburn, Principal of Southside Elementary School.
“It’s important for us to get the message out, you know not only in the city of Augusta but all around the world,” said Terry Tolbert, Executive Director of Samaritan’s Feet.
Samaritans Feet is also trying to send shoes to Texas for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. If you want to see how you can give a helping hand click here.