News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

November 4, 2013

The Perfect Fit: Shoe Bus keeps children’s feet covered

TERRE HAUTE — “I love Puma,” said a girl’s small voice from under a large, red and black “Angry Bird” baseball cap.

The Meadows Elementary student with a long, braided pony tail, held up one foot in a bright pink sock as Amy Lichtenberger, a volunteer with the Terre Haute Women’s Club, worked to find the right-fitting shoe.

“I love pink,” the girl, a fourth-grader, told the volunteers.

After a few failures to find the right size, finally the young girl was fitted with a brand new pair of clean, white tennis shoes and proudly wore them back into her school. The shoes were especially visible as the girl’s blue jeans failed to cover her ankles.

It was another success for the Shoe Bus, an outreach of the Terre Haute Women’s Club.

“We had a light run today,” said Imogene Roberts, who has volunteered with the Shoe Bus since the 1980s. Some days the club gives new tennis shoes to up to 50 kids in Vigo County schools. On this fall day, they distributed about 10 pairs.

The Shoe Bus travels once or twice a week from school to school in Vigo County, wherever young people are in need of new shoes. Sometimes the need is great.

Many children from needy families come to school in shoes borrowed from brothers or sisters, said Nancy Hofmann, secretary at the front desk at Meadows, which gets a visit from the Shoe Bus about three times a month. Other times, their shoes are held together with duct tape or are simply falling apart, she said.

The kids are called to the school’s front desk and then learn the Shoe Bus has arrived, Hofmann said.

“They love it. They get so excited when they know they’re getting shoes from the Shoe Bus,” Hofmann said. The students also receive two new pairs of fresh socks, she noted. That’s also a hit with the kids, she said.

The Shoe Bus is the sole charitable activity of the Terre Haute Women’s Club, which was founded in 1971. Each year, volunteers on the bus provide about 1,200 pairs of shoes free of charge to needy kids in Vigo County.

The current Shoe Bus is a slick, large, unmarked, white vehicle custom designed to serve as a miniature shoe shop and warehouse. Up to 400 pairs of shoes are carried in neatly organized drawers. The shoes are purchased, often at discounted prices, from area retailers, Roberts said.

Before visiting Meadows, the bus made a stop at other Vigo schools, including Terre Haute South Vigo High School and Sugar Grove Elementary. At Sugar Grove, a brother and sister were fitted with brand new shoes by Lichtenberger and fellow volunteer Tammy Roach.

Both politely said “Thank you,” before hopping off their seats inside the bus and returning to their classrooms.

The Shoe Bus has taken many forms in past years, nearly always as used vehicles, including one without a reverse gear. The current bus has a brightly-lighted interior custom designed by Natalie Rupert, Robert’s daughter and an architect.

The Shoe Bus is supported by money raised by the Terre Haute Women’s Club through the group’s annual event, “An Evening of Art and Wine,” next scheduled for April 12, 2014 at Hulman Center. Socks are often donated by area churches, businesses and civic organizations, Roberts said.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Bodies of Malaysia Jet Victims Leave Ukraine Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails 98-Year-Old Woman Left in Parked Truck Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Raw: Plane Lands on New York Highway Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Raw: MD Church Built in 1773 Ravaged by Fire Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law
NDN Video
LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB'
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity