Program provides new shoes for Tukwila kids

Lonnie Ploegman, 18, hasn't had a new pair of shoes since last summer. But that changed in December when he became the recipient of Payless ShoeSource's shoe giveaway to youth clients of Sound Mental Health.

Jakirra McNeal

Lonnie Ploegman, 18, hasn’t had a new pair of shoes since last summer. But that changed in December when he became the recipient of Payless ShoeSource’s shoe giveaway to youth clients of Sound Mental Health.

“I feel better because my shoes that I have don’t really match what I like,” said Ploegman. “So, I’d like to have better shoes I can actually like to wear instead of just slickin’ on random shoes.”

Sound Mental Health was one of more than 750 organizations nationwide selected for the “Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids,” a massive holiday children’s shoe-giving program.

“Corporate chose (Sound Mental Health) because they thought it was a great organization and what they’re doing in the local communities is really great for the children and their families,” said Chelsea Crawford, Payless Store Manager.

Sound Mental Health serves more than 400 children in Tukwila and more than 2,600 children and youth in King County through their Child and Family Services Program.

The non-profit also serves adults and elders with a diverse array of programs including housing services, military and veteran’s programs, grief and loss counseling, chemical dependency, therapeutic and foster-care services and counseling.

This is the first time they’ve received support from Payless.

“The economy has had an impact on us like everybody else, but the support is still there,” said Steve McLean, Sound Mental Health communications manager. “Maybe people are giving a little less, or some organizations are giving a little less, but they’re still giving.”

Payless gave away about 100 gift cards to the organization. Several kids were there to accept them in person.

Fleece Parrish was there with her three girls ages 8, 10 and 14. She is a therapeutic foster-care provider for Sound Mental Health.

“I think it’s fabulous that, you know, a business can support the community and support the children that we have in our community in need by putting on events such as this and being able to give back to the community,” she said.

How did 8-year-old Jakirra McNeal feel about her new shoes?

“Fantastic and excited,” she said.

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