December 15, 2008

Sandia Christmas campaign brings new shoes for needy school children

Shoes for kids
Shoes for Kids. Download 300dpi 1.0 MB JPEG image (Media are welcome to download/publish this image with related news stories.)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — More than 50 years ago two scientists at Sandia National Laboratories decided to buy shoes for needy children instead of exchanging gifts with one another. “Everyone was very enthusiastic about our idea,” says Sandia retiree John Haaland.

The Shoes for Kids campaign began with 15-30 children getting new shoes. Over the years, word spread and Sandia’s Christmas campaign has continued growing benefitting young children who are not aware they are in need; they just know they are getting new shoes.

Last year Sandia employees and retirees donated over $16,000. More than 500 local elementary school students will get new shoes again this year during outings to The Shoe Department on Cutler Ave. NE in Albuquerque. Through the years more than 11,500 children have received shoes through Sandia’s Shoes for Kids Campaign.

Photo Opportunity: Media are invited to the “fitting” on Dec 18, 9:45 to 10:45 a.m., at The Shoe Department at 4600 Cutler Ave. NE. There will be opportunities to talk with the children and Sandia and Shoe Department employees.

Shoe fittings during school outings to The Shoe Department are the heart of the event. At each of several fittings during the year, Sandia volunteers, and The Shoe Department staff fit each group of 25 children with new shoes.

Oohs and aahs and finger pointing are abundant as each child finds that special pair of shiny shoes.

The project is a team effort. The Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union collects the donations, The Shoe Department provides shoes at a discounted price, Albuquerque Public Schools teachers and staff identify children in need, and numerous bus companies throughout the city provide transportation from the schools to The Shoe Department.

Many children selected also qualify for the Roadrunner Food Bank backpack campaign which identifies and assists children who take home food in their backpacks to carry them through the weekend.

Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Sandia news media contact: Iris Aboytes, (505) 844-2282
Sandia project leader: Patty Zamora, (505) 844-2416