Sixty Hawkins Elementary School students walked away with some brand-new Adidas sneakers last week, all courtesy of NFL players and Burges High alumni Aaron and Alvin Jones.
The two star athletes, through their A&A All the Way Foundation, made the donation to Hawkins and other area schools in memory of their father, Alvin Jones Sr., who passed away earlier this year.
The event brough joy not only the dozens of students getting new shoes, but also to the Jones brothers and their family.
“I’m seeing huge smiles,” Aaron Jones said. “A lot of them were running up to get their shoes. You could definitely tell the excitement was there.”
After all the boxes were handed out, Aaron Jones sat in the crowd with the kids, chatting, and helping lace up and fit the shoes on their little feet.
“When you get a new pair of shoes, it’s confidence,” Aaron Jones said. “Who doesn’t like a new pair of shoes? Some people may only get a new pair of shoes once a year and some may not get any. If I can be a resource to give them a pair of shoes that are comfortable to walk around in and to go out and play in, I’m glad to be that resource.”
The shoe giveaway is part of Aaron Jones’ commitment to donating the same number of shoes as the number of yards he rushed for last season. Hawkins was the first stop, but other area schools will benefit.
“Giving back is something my parents laid the foundation for even before we became successful,” Aaron Jones said. “Now, that I’ve been blessed, I want to use my platform to give back. I believe when you are blessed, you bless others.”
Third grader Melanie Peredo had already tried on her shoes but tucked them neatly back into the box. She loved her new Adidas.
“It makes me feel good,” she smiled. “I’m going to use them to play sports. Thank you.”
Jones isn’t a stranger to Hawkins. The former UTEP Miner and Burges Mustang, who sported a Hawkins Ram cap, has donated bikes, turkeys and other goodies to help the community.
“We cannot thank them enough for everything they’ve done,” said principal Adriana Ruiz. “It contributes to our academic success. When students receive something like this, they feel comfortable and confident and eager and happy to want to come and learn. It’s not just about providing a shoe but what it does for them and their self-esteem.”
Hawkins dedicated the event to Alvin Jones Sr. The school held up a banner with a family picture, cut outs of shoes and wings and a message: “Thank you Mr. Jones, We Really Miss You!!!”
“Mr. Jones would have loved to be here,” Ruiz said. “He liked being part of the process, so we really wanted to dedicate this to him. There’s a lot of emotions today. We’ll never be able to repay what they’ve done for our kids and our community.”