On Wednesday, the Chinatown Community Development Center and nonprofit organization My New Red Shoes came together for the tenth year in a row to provide low-income youth living in single room occupancy hotels (SROs) with a brand-new pair of kicks.
According to the CCDC, "Chinatown has over 500 low-income families living in SRO buildings, where family members cram into small rooms and share community kitchens and bathrooms with their neighbors. Even with limited living space, SRO rent is cheaper than an apartment, and more affordable for low-income families who struggle between employment and the escalating cost of their housing and children’s living."
The program also gave each student a $50 gift card, to help with buying school supplies or new clothes for the upcoming semester.
"My New Red Shoes helps homeless and low-income children look and feel confident as they start the school year by providing them with new clothing and shoes ... so that they can start the school year proud and ready to learn," the CCDC said in a statement.
The CCDC's Kitty Fong told us that more than 1,000 children in need received a new pair of shoes this year, with the help of the SRO Families United Collaborative. The shoes are "something essential for the homeless children living in SRO residential hotels and children living in the shelters across San Francisco."
SFPD Central Station's Capt. David Lazar, along with three other officers, was on hand to help pass out shoes and gift cards. “Congratulations to the CCDC on your 10th anniversary of giving shoes to the youth of the SROs," he said. "We at Central Station are grateful for our partnership in the community."
Fong told us that many of the children were so excited about their new kicks that they couldn't wait to try them on before they got home.
“My parents spend most of their income on rent and groceries," one of the kids in attendance told us. "Getting a pair of new shoes and $50 gift card really helps ease the burden."
If you're interested in helping out, check out My New Red Shoes for more information.