Nonprofit organization EPKicks recently gave more than 100 Nike and Adidas sneakers to the Helping the Academic Needs of Displaced Students or HANDS program in the Socorro Independent School District.
EPKicks partners Ken Benckwitz and Sebastian Rumler said the more they became aware of the need of shoes for children in the community, the more they wanted to help.
Both of their children attend school in SISD, so they wanted to give back to the campuses near and dear to their hearts.
“Seeing a list of kids from the same school that my kids go to is eye opening. It’s hard to see the need, not only for shoes, but so much more,” Benckwitz said. “I hope this will motivate other people to give back and get involved, even if it’s just one pair of shoes, a jacket, or a backpack, anything that makes a difference.”
The HANDS program assists children who lack a fixed, regular and adequate residence. EPKicks delivered the shoes to the District Service Center, so that the teacher’s assistants in the HANDS program could take them back to their campuses.
The shoes will be shared with students in elementary, middle and high school.
“There is a need for shoes as kids go through shoes pretty quickly. We are very blessed that (EPKicks) has offered to help our program,” said Title 1 Specialist Lorena Cartagena in the SISD State and Federal Programs department.
The teacher’s assistants, who picked up the sneakers to distribute at their designated schools, said it is rewarding to help students, not just academically, but also in their life by bringing them encouragement and motivation to come to school every day.
“I can’t wait to see their faces light up because I know they are going to be grateful, and that’s what I’m looking forward to because I know they get so excited,” said Leticia Padilla, an SISD teacher’s assistant. “It’s a wonderful experience and I’m really glad to be a part of it.”
EPKicks plans to continue their mission to help children who need new shoes.
The non-profit organization started in November 2018 by collecting donations on a GoFundMe account created in honor of Rumler’s birthday. Their initial goal was to raise $500, which they easily surpassed by collected $1,200.
Moving forward, they will keep collecting and donating to help more students.
The delivery of the shoes was made on September 24th.