ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Many children in the Albuquerque area will receive new shoes this year thanks to a program started 53 years ago by two Sandia National Laboratories scientists who instead of exchanging gifts with each other decided to buy shoes for needy school children.
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, many of whom are not aware they are in need they ― just know they are getting new shoes.
Last year Sandia employees and retirees donated more than $17,500. More than 500 local elementary school students will get new shoes 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.
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 ahs and finger pointing are abundant as each child finds that special pair of new 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 National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, 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, email@example.com (505) 844-2282
Sandia Project Leader: Patty Zamora, 505-844-2146