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    Shoes for School

    First Lady Cilla Leed Tomme's Service Project


    President General Tomme’s initiatives for this year are youth oriented, with his Education Outreach program and his challenge to the state societies to donate $1,000 to the Council of Youth Awards.

    I have elected to carry out a service project during my year as First Lady.  Since the SAR Congress will be held next July in Knoxville, TN, I have decided that this would be an appropriate area to serve.  I have been working with the Knoxville Area Urban League and I have identified a project which is already in place and serving the Knoxville youth entitled, Shoes for School.

    The Shoes for School is an annual-back-to-school event that provides new shoes and school supplies for more than 1,200 area children.  Each spring, the Urban League works with other non-profit agencies to help identify and register children ages 5-12 who most need the help. The name of the child, gender and shoe size are recorded.

    Shoes for School event provides an exciting carnival like atmosphere. Each year about 35 Knoxville booth sponsors include a game or activity for the kids and give away school supplies. These sponsors include corporations, sororities, area non-profits, churches and others.  The distribution event usually takes place the first Saturday in August and is held in a local community park.

    The Shoes for School project began 14 years ago with 100 children receiving a pair of new shoes. Over the years the program has grown with the community sponsorship increasing. The children which receive the shoes have been previously identified and registered and receive a pair of shoes specifically selected for them. In addition, the children in the community are welcome to attend the event where they will receive free school supplies, with no prequalification or registration.

    So you ask how you can help. With a $10 donation you can provide a pair of new shoes for a child in need.

    At this time I am seeking your assistance and support in the donation of funds for this cause. I am challenging each of you to make a $10 donation.  My goal is to purchase 300 pairs of shoes, or collect $3,000. You may visit the Knoxville Area Urban League website (TheKaul.org) and make a direct donation.  The website accepts checks, major credit cards as well as pay-pal.  However, if you make a donation directly through the website, I ask that you drop me a note or email at (gacoloniallady@gmail.com) to advise of the amount of the donation.  I would like to be able to record the amount of our donations so that we can report a final donation total. The cutoff date for the submission of our donations is June 1, 2017.

    As Mike and I travel around the country to attend your state or district meetings, many of you present us with a gift. I ask that you forego the gift and instead make a donation to the Shoes for School project instead.

    During our Spring Leadership meeting next March, I will share a copy of the video which is available on the Knoxville Area Urban League website. I will also ask that you make a donation to this project in lieu of bringing a small gift for the ladies raffle usually conducted after our luncheon.

    I would appreciate your support with the Shoes for School project.  I know how excited each of us gets when we purchase a new pair of shoes for ourselves, so image how excited a child in need gets with a brand new pair of shoes just in time for the beginning of school. This is a way that we can show our support for the youth of tomorrow.

    I have extended an invitation to the coordinator of this program and her designee to join us as my guests at my First Lady’s Luncheon next July during Congress.  At that time, we will present a symbolic check to the Knoxville Urban League for our group donation.

    Purchasing shoes and school supplies for over 1,200 children is a big undertaking, but seeing the delight on the face of a child and knowing that providing these basic necessities helps them feel more comfortable and confident around their peers, make this all worthwhile.

    Additional information may be found on the Knoxville Area Urban League web: www.TheKaul.org  click on the Events tab and then on the Shoes for School.

    I seek your consideration and support for this very worthwhile project.

    Sincerely,

    First Lady 2016-2017
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