By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer
MERCER COUNTY AREA —
The Herald’s 10th annual appeal for the Shoe Our Children program through its Good News Fund is offically under way.
The program provides school shoes to the area’s less fortunate children.
The three-month effort continues to grow out of necessity and will last through the middle of September.
In the last nine years, The Herald has helped to raise nearly $250,000 for the program. That amount includes many contributions from residents, businesses and organizations.
The late James E. Winner Jr., former chairman of Winner International in Sharon, started the program, inspired by his childhood experience of rarely having a good pair of shoes to attend school.
Beginning in May 2004, The Herald assumed the responsibility of raising funds for the program. With the cooperation and support of Karen Winner-Sed, who succeeded her father at Winner International, the fund has helped to provide thousands of pairs of shoes to children in Mercer County school districts and in Brookfield.
Shoes are delivered at the beginning of the school year, when employees from Winner International sacrifice some of their lunch hours to help the effort.
The distribution of shoes continues throughout the school year. Application forms are sent to schools and distributed to parents.
Organizers of the program never know who is getting the shoes – they just receive orders for certain sizes and ages.
The program has the resources to fill a child’s need immediately, as shoes are stockpiled in the Winner International warehouses in Sharon. Karen and her assistants broker deals with shoe companies across the country.
In addition, the Jubelirer family, owners of Reyers Shoe Store in Sharon, has been a faithful supporter and has donated nearly 7,500 pairs of shoes to the program.
Individuals, businesses and organizations wanting to make a tax-free contribution should make their checks payable to The Good News Fund/Shoe Our Children and mail them to Nancy Ash, in care of The Herald, Box 51, Sharon 16146. Contributions may be dropped off at The Herald office, 52 S. Dock St., Sharon.
The fund offers residents the option of making a donation in the name of a friend or family member. The names of donors are published in The Herald periodically throughout the appeal. A complete list of donors will be printed at the end of the campaign.
Being a member of the Community Foundation of Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania (Shenango Valley Foundation) not only gives The Good News Fund tax-exempt status, it assures donors of strict accountability and conformity to Internal Revenue Service regulations.