Tamaqua children receive a free pair of shoes from area church
Kindergarten students at Tamaqua Area Elementary School try on their new slip-on canvas shoes Friday morning. The shoes were donated to the school through an Assembly of God community outreach program. KATHY KUNKEL/TIMES NEWS
Every student in the Tamaqua Elementary School went home with a new free pair of canvas slip-on shoes on Friday, thanks to the efforts of members of the New Life Assembly of God Church.
Pastor Ed Noftz and his wife, Rosemarie, have been involved in many community outreach programs and are always searching for projects and ideas to help the Tamaqua area.
They searched the Convoy of Hope National Disaster Relief organization’s website and discovered there were programs designed just for rural communities, known as Rural Compassion.
One of those programs provided free footwear from a nationally recognized shoe company.
The Noftzs began researching to see if the Tamaqua area met the criteria for the program.
Working with Tamaqua Elementary Principal Laura Shook, the couple compiled all the statistics and submitted an application on behalf of the school’s students. They were pleasantly surprised when they learned that Tamaqua Elementary was approved to receive new shoes for the students.
That’s when the real work began.
Each student had his or her feet measured by members of the church. The correct number of each size shoe had to be calculated and the order placed.
When the shoes arrived, it was time to sort them, not only by size, but by grade and classroom to make distribution flow a little more smoothly.
When the big day arrived on Friday, several members of the church were there to hand out shoes and make sure they fit properly. They included the Noftzs, Debbie Tamagini, Erica Murphy, Jim Frie and Renee Johnston.
Tables were set up in the school gymnasium and the students arrived by grade. The shoes were individually bagged, with the size and student’s name.
In a stroke of good fortune, the shoes came in either black or brown, meaning they fit the school district’s uniform policy.
A total of 605 students received the free footwear.