Amarillo, Texas - Feet are often forgotten when money is tight.
Imagine walking around with shoes full of holes, shoes duct taped together, or no shoes at all.
That's the reality many kids in the Amarillo area are facing, and it's a problem that's only getting worse.
Eastridge Elementary Parent Involvement Liaison Taryl Ramirez says, "A lot of times they will wear their brother's or sister's shoes that are two or three sizes too big for them."
It's a problem often overlooked, but one that's becoming alarmingly prevalent in the Amarillo area.
Mission Amarillo Director Jeff Parsons explains, "There are people who are making decisions about whether or not to pay for the light bill, whether to buy food, or whether to pay for a medical visit. But just to make a medical visit means they are going to have to sacrifice something else, so shoes come very low on the priority."
Which is why Mission Amarillo is helping the kids of these families put their best foot forward, by putting new shoes on their feet.
The organization provided over 1,600 pairs of sneakers to students at 28 schools in Amarillo, Canyon, Bushland, and River Road just this year.
That's double the number they have given out since they started the program two years ago.
Parsons adds, "There just seems to be more people who are in more of a desperate need. We have always had the poor in our community who have struggled, but it seems with this economy it's causing people to struggle even more."
It's making a major difference to these children faced with wearing shoes, that can barely be called shoes.
Taryl Ramirez says, "It puts a smile on their face. They love it. It's a gift we are giving them and they are honored. They feel very special to get these new pair of shoes."
As the school year comes to a close, Mission Amarillo is facing a need for shoes of their own.
Parsons explains, "We have about 12 sizes of shoes right now, most of them half sizes, where we have less than three pairs of shoes available."
New shoe donations of any size are always welcome, but sneakers in half sizes, especially for boys are most needed.
The organization is holding its' first fundraiser "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" on Saturday, May 26th at 9 AM at Thompson Park Lake.
To register a team for the walk, go to any Chick-fil-a location Saturday, May 19th from 10-2.
After the 19th, download a registration packet at www.missionamarillo.org