White House Author
Tom Barnes has a dream that all children in Iowa deserve to have a good pair of shoes that fit them. In 2003, he took over the neglected project, Shoes for Kids (S4K), which aims to supply students in need with the funds to purchase shoes. The program, administered by school nurses, started in two local school districts but quickly expanded based on the growing need and a downturn in the economy. The community, including Tom’s local Rotary club, stepped up to help meet the demand. Meanwhile, Tom established marketing campaigns to solicit donations and secured business partners—including footwear retailer Payless Shoe Source, which donates gift cards to the program. Under Tom’s leadership, S4K has raised more than $50,000 and has reached over 3,500 children. In addition to helping students, S4K has also supported victims of major disasters in the state and recently sent 80 pairs of shoes with a club member participating in a polio immunization campaign in Nigeria to donate to a local orphanage.