DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) -"Fiesta at Fuqua" is right around the corner and it will send kids home with school supplies. For the first time in 2016, it will include new shoes.
New Life Church in Duncan has been hosting the event for the past several years, providing kids with donated backpacks, pens, pencils and paper. As an added bonus, the kids are given the opportunity to play games and get their eyes and teeth checked all for free. The church says they want to provide 1,000 kids with a new pair of shoes, but still need a little help to get there.
Church members are going around to various businesses collecting monetary donations or a new pair of shoes. So far, they've collected 69 pairs of shoes. They said they started the initiative because there are so many kids who go to school and don't have a new pair of shoes, or a pair that fits.
Mary Jando is a member at New Life church in Duncan, and her family is one of the families who benefits from "Fiesta at Fuqua." She has three children and they live off a single income. She says her and her husband work hard to give the best for their children, but sometimes the expenses can be too much.
"If it wasn't for family helping us, our kids wouldn't get new shoes every year. They would get, you know, hand-me-down shoes or, like we do often, Goodwill shoes, because it's just too expensive to continue to put brand new shoes on every child's foot," Jando said.
Melissa Powell is the organizer of "Fiesta at Fuqua," and she says this initiative is important to her because she understands what it's like to be a parent and want the best for your child. Powell says this event is a great thing, and it's helping so many families.
"It meant the world to me as a parent to be able to get that to my kid. Not to mention to have fun, and not have to worry about it. It gets them the right start, it gives them a good first day of school," Powell said.
Powell says she wants families to know that they are not there to look down on these families, but they are there to help them.
"There's people out here that do care. Not just about the children, but about the parents as well because we do know how hard it is to be a parent, single or married. In these times and days, it's hard to clothe, feed and put shoes on our children," Powell said.
Jando says every donation means the world to both the child and parent.
"If it's, you know, providing time, if it's providing supplies, if it's providing funds, if it's providing brand new shoes, please do so. Because I'm living proof that it helps and it takes a lot of stress off and we need the help," Jando said.
Powell says if you or your business would like to donate, you can mail your donation to P.O. Box 1352. Or if you want to drop off new shoes, you can drop them off at the church at 1404 W Main Street in Duncan, OK.