Meridian Star

Local News

June 15, 2014

TOMS donates shoes to area children

MERIDIAN —     Hundreds of members of the Boys and Girls Club of East Mississippi in Meridian were given a pair of new shoes thanks to a partnership with International Relief and Development, US (IRD) and TOMS Shoes.  

    IRD has been working overseas since its inception in 1998 and has been working in Gulfport for the last nine years.  

    One of the premier programs that the IRD US office has been managing along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi is the YouthBuild program. IRD YouthBuild was designed by IRD following Hurricane Katrina to assist with the reconstruction effort by offering disadvantaged youth opportunities to learn a valuable trade and educate them in areas of leadership, community service and teamwork.  

    The “Get Fit Gulf Coast” program was designed by YouthBuild Alumni to give back to other youth around their communities and the state.  

    TOMS Shoes is known for donating shoes to children in need overseas and has been a partner of IRD for many years, “The Get Fit Gulf Coast” project was a way to expand on that partnership to start here in the United States with giving away shoes to help youths, according to a press release.

    Program director for IRD US, Jake Cook, said this partnership with TOMS Shoes is the first in the United States.

    In addition to receiving the sports shoes, Boys and Girls Clubs members learned fun ways to promote physical activity as the school year ends and summer begins. Cook said this is not only a great partnership, but also a great incentive to get kids active, with the summer right around the corner.

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