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If the Christmas shoes fit
by Jessica Garcia
Dec 21, 2009 | 1262 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/Dan McGee
Payless ShoeSource on Oddie Boulevard was a busy place Monday as the shop gave a free pair of shoes to 40 youngsters from the Boys and Girls Club. Manager Yolanda Velazquez and employee Jennifer George (in the background) check the sizes of youngsters.
Tribune/Dan McGee Payless ShoeSource on Oddie Boulevard was a busy place Monday as the shop gave a free pair of shoes to 40 youngsters from the Boys and Girls Club. Manager Yolanda Velazquez and employee Jennifer George (in the background) check the sizes of youngsters.
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SPARKS – Nine-year-old Macie McCall wriggled around as she took off her old shoes and put on the new brown and white sneakers that she picked out for herself at a Payless ShoeSource store on Oddie Boulevard.

“I like them,” she said, still squirming.

Many youngsters from the Boys and Girls Club had a ball Monday morning as they were shuttled to Payless to receive an early Christmas gift: a $15 coupon to buy a new pair of shoes.

Macie’s chaperone, Brittina Hill, brought in 25 kids at 9:30 a.m., with another 15 on their way soon after, to have their feet properly measured and sent on their way to the children’s shoe section.

Some chose the practical tennis shoes; others went for the fancy flat shoes colored gold. Whatever the style, they were eager to put on the new shoes the moment they ran through the cash register.

“I like them because I really need some new shows,” said Kiana Lee, 11. “It’s cool that they’d go out of their way just for us.”

Matt Sampson, BGC youth site coordinator for its East Ninth Street location in Reno, said Payless contacted the club staff and expressed an interesting in helping the kids by providing new shoes.

“It was an amazing gift,” he said. “They’re beyond a huge help to the parents.”

The only two BGC sites open in the area during this holiday week are East Ninth and the Neil Road center, so the children were selected accordingly, with most coming from the East Ninth Street location because it has a higher population of kids. The children who went to Payless were ages 6 to 11.

“It’s so awesome because with this economy, any little bit helps,” said Hill, youth services director. “Whether we’re talking about middle, upper or lower class, any bit counts, whether parents are taking cutbacks or pay cuts.”

Some parents, Hill said, already knew about the outing to get the shoes because they’re supposed to have field trip forms signed, but for those who didn’t, some parents might be surprised.

Kiana indicated her mother might react with skepticism.

“My mom doesn’t know, so when I go home and asks me, ‘Where did you get those shoes?’, I’ll tell her the Boys and Girls Club took me to Payless,” Kiana said. “Then she’ll ask me, ‘Are you lying?’ And I’ll say, ‘No.’ ”

Some kids chose a pair that was above the $15 limit. If that was the case, Hill said, a representative from the BGC would pay the difference so no family would have to make up the difference.

“It’s funny having 30 kids in the same room,” Hill said. “You never know what’s going to happen.”

The Oddie Payless manager Yolanda Velazquez said her store has never hosted anything like Monday’s event for the kids, but she would enjoy it.

“I love the kids,” she said. “I’m really excited about them having fun.”
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