LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The heartbreaking story of a Santa Clarita boy whose family couldn’t afford to buy him gym shoes has inspired an outpouring of generosity from the community.
Last week, Saugus Union School District physical education teacher Sam Ford was leading her class through exercises at Cedar Creek Elementary when she noticed some students were wearing rundown boots instead of gym shoes.
She asked the kids to bring tennis shoes the following day, but was saddened to hear that at least one student had no other choice.
“One little boy said, ‘These are the only shoes I have,'” Ford said.
That boy wasn’t alone, either.
“I see kids running in sandals or shoes with holes,” Ford said. “Or we have kids who hot glue gun the sole on everyday.”
Ford went home that evening and posted about the boy on her personal Facebook page. The story inspired her friends to act.
Within hours, several of Ford’s friends ran out and purchased the boy new shoes.
Soon, the post was widely shared in the Santa Clarita Valley and hundreds of pairs of tennis shoes were lined up in Ford’s classroom.
“It’s just been shocking and unbelievable and overwhelming all at the same time,” she said.
The donations helped bring some holiday cheer to Shari Ramsey’s second grade class, where each student received new sneakers Wednesday morning.
“It’s heartwarming and it’s heartbreaking at the same time,” she said. “It’s something so simple to many of us. For some of these kids, this is their first new pair of shoes in years.”
Seven-year-old Jesse Rivas Valencia said she has added spring in her step thanks to her new running shoes.
“They make me run so fast,” she said.
So far, 200 pairs have been donated. Ford is hoping for an additional 285 pairs to be donated so every child in the school can pick out a new pair of shoes.
“I have three days until they go on Christmas break, so fingers crossed,” she said.
The school is still looking for shoes ranging from toddler size 10 to youth size 6, for both boys and girls.
Shoes can be mailed or dropped off at Cedar Creek Elementary School, 27792 Camp Plenty Rd., Canyon Country.
Donations can also be made Ford’s PayPal account: Samantha.firstname.lastname@example.org.