ALTON — All God’s Children Shall Have Shoes is the theme this year for a charity event to help needy children.
Wine and Cheese for Charity will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, at Atlantis Pools, 3000 E. Homer M. Adams Parkway, Alton.
Bethany Chapel has volunteered for the past five years.
“Once you put a pair of shoes on a kid, it makes you want to come back,” Chapel said.
Chapel said the event started when men working for the phone company noticed a child walking to school in winter with shoes in horrid condition.
“They went and bought a pair of shoes and gave it to him,” she said.
Since then, when the phone company workers found children in need of shoes, they would provide them, Chapel said.
In the past 10 years, the charity event has dramatically grown and schools began busing children to find shoes.
Last year’s charity event raised $18,715, which provided a pair of shoes for 1,038 children. The average per child was about $18, including a package of socks.
Children will pick their shoes between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Chapel said they are contacting the schools to find out which children need shoes.
“Our target is to get warm shoes on those feet of the kids out there waiting for the bus,” she said.
For the past few years, the event has been partnered with Payless.
Chapel said they are working with nine school districts: Alton, Bethalto, Wood River-Hartford, East Alton, Highland, Roxana, Bunker Hill, Southwestern and Carrollton school districts. They are trying to get in contact with other school districts as well, Chapel said.
“Whoever our contact is from the school, whether it’s the nurse, teacher or social worker, they contact us and give us a roundabout number on the children,” Chapel said. “This way we know how many volunteers we need to have.”
Chapel said the schools will be responsible for busing students to Payless. Volunteers will help children arriving at the store. Door personnel will measure the children’s feet, and from there, the children will select their shoes.
Normally dealing with children from ages 3 up to eighth grade, Chapel said they will not turn down anyone in need.
“If there’s a need, we want to meet it,” she said. “We will never tell them no.”
Jimmy the Greek’s Grecian Taverna in Alton will cater the event, providing wine, cheese and appetizers.
“Atlantis is paying for everything, and all of the proceeds, 100 percent, will be given back to the charity,” she said.
Tickets will be $30 per person and $50 per couple. St. Louis band Rhythm of the Night will perform.
“We hope to get the community involved,” Chapel said. “It’s going to be a nice and relaxing kind of night to get the community talking and help raise money.”
There will also be a 50/50 raffle, door prizes, and a raffle for a $1,500 Kamado Joe ceramic grill, including accessories. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20.
Guests can pay at the door or in advance. Checks should be made out to All God’s Children and dropped off or mailed to Atlantis Pools, 3000 E. Homer M. Adams Parkway, Alton, IL 62002.
For updates, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/solesforkids.