Approximately 100 local students were able to get a new pair of shoes Sunday evening thanks to the annual back-to-school event hosted by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 16 at Shoe Stop. Additionally, FOP Lodge 16 is making a cash donation to local school districts to allow counselors to purchase other necessary items for families in need.
FOP Lodge 16 has been doing the back-to-school event for about 10 years, and Shoe Stop has been a longtime partner.
“Shoe Stop has always been really generous with the discounts that they can offer so that we can actually help out more kids that way. Because of their loyalty to our program, we’ve been loyal to them,” said FOP Lodge 16 President George Ballard.
FOP Lodge 16 Vice President Aaron Hamilton has helped organize the event for several years. Once Hamilton knows the budget, he reaches out to the school counselors letting them know how many children can be served. The counselors then help find the families in need and coordinate to get them to the event.
FOP is also making a cash donation of roughly $2,500 that will be divided evenly among Owensboro and Daviess County public schools along with Owensboro Catholic Schools. The Family Resource and Youth Service Centers will allocate those funds to purchase school supplies for families that need help.
“The best people to help get the stuff for the kids, outside the shoes and stuff that we do, are these school counselors who know these kids intimately,” Ballard said. “They know how to get the best out of those finances.”
FOP Lodge 16 also hosts their bigger Shop With a Cop event just before Christmas. They fundraise and prepare all year for the two events.
Ballard said neither event could be held without community support.
“The community is helping out with this back-to-school program, they’re helping out with the Christmas Shop with a Cop,” he said. “It’s the public’s support of law enforcement that makes this possible. So those public donations they make to us, we want them to know that it’s going in the right places.”