New Shoes for the New School Year!

New Shoes for the Kids
Children from The Village showing off their new shoes!

Children from the BOSS Ursula Sherman Village Program & Partners in Reentry Employment Program (PREP) were recently gifted over $1,800 in shoes. Just in time for Back-To-School!

Back-To-School time is exciting, sad, and sometimes a little scary—all at once. If you’re a child whose family is experiencing homelessness, these feelings are intensified and even more complicated. School can be a clean, safe place that has heating, relatively easy access to food, and plenty of restrooms. It can also be a place of fear and trepidation. If you are without housing, getting and staying clean is difficult. If you cannot afford a place to live, you probably cannot afford new clothes. This is especially problematic for children as they grow into, and out of, clothes so quickly.

Last year, Gwen Austin, the in-kind donations contact for all BOSS programs, was approached by a class of 4th graders from Hillcrest School in Oakland. They were working with Gotta Have Sole to hold a shoe drive and wanted to give all the shoes they collected to children in BOSS programs. By the end of the school year they had collected 33 pairs of sneakers, 93 pairs of socks, and the young students had created 38 hand-decorated cards of friendship and encouragement.

BOSS gave out the shoes to the children a few weeks later — just in time for Back-To-School.

This year, Gwen reached out to Nick and Lori Lowinger, founders of the Gotta Have Sole Foundation and received this response from them almost immediately:

Gotta Have Sole Foundation was created 5 years ago by my son, Nicholas when he was 12 (he’s now 17), and has donated new shoes to over 31,000 homeless children in 37 states in the US!

We would love to get sneakers and socks for the rest of the children at B.O.S.S. and have a volunteer event on April 7 where we could get a footwear order ready for you. All you would need to do is measure the children’s feet with foot measuring templates we will send you, and fill out an order form which we would also send along.

Please let me know if this is something you’d be interested in for your kids.

Thank you,

Lori Lowinger

BOSS received the shoes in early August — over $1,800 worth! BOSS kids are now well outfitted for school. We have been getting them new backpacks and school supplies, but now they also have new, attractive, well-fitting shoes to kick off the new school year!

If you would like to make an in-kind donation please contact Gwen at Your gift of new or gently-used clothing can make a huge difference for some one turning their life around!