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JCSU hosts shoe distribution event serving more than 800 local families

Photo from Samaritan's Feet event

Charlotte / December 7, 2020 – Hundreds of people lined up to receive a pair of free shoes at Johnson C. Smith University Saturday, December 5, 2020. It was all a part of Charlotte Cares, an event created by non-profit Samaritan’s Feet aimed at distributing shoes across the community this holiday season. The event, which served over 800 people, was done in conjunction with Publix Supermarket Charities, Finance of America, and the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office with support from Charlotte City Councilman Malcolm Graham.

Tami Simmons, vice president for Institutional Advancement, said hosting the event aligns with the University’s core value of helping to meet the needs of people surrounding the JCSU community. 

“President Clarence D. Armbrister and First Lady Denise Armbrister, along with the entire JCSU team, were especially proud to be joined by City Councilman Malcolm Graham ‘85, an esteemed alumnus of the University, and CIAA Commissioner Jacquie McWilliams, a true inspiration to all student-athletes and a great friend of the University, through their service to others,” Simmons said. “Both Malcolm and Jacquie show time and time again what servant leadership means. We are all recipients of their great work and passion for helping Charlotte’s citizens.” 

Jacqie McWilliams, CIAA Commissioner and member of the Samaritan’s Feet Board of Directors, said the event showcased the partnership CIAA has fostered with Samaritan’s Feet by involving member institutions in the organization’s work through community service and fundraising.

"It was such a blessing to experience the giving spirits of President Armbrister and the JCSU community as they took time to volunteer with CIAA partner Samaritan's Feet in its fifth annual Charlotte Cares distribution," said McWilliams. "Through the efforts of everyone involved, we were able to distribute over 800 pairs of shoes and Hope Totes to those families in need."

The goal of Samaritan’s Feet, a Charlotte-based non-profit organization with an international scope, is to create a world with no shoeless children. Simmons said the organization’s goal made it easy for JCSU to support the initiative, which is especially needed in our local community this holiday season because of the financial hardships many families are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The work of Samaritan’s Feet is nothing less than remarkable,” Simmons added. “Protecting one’s feet is to protect one’s health and safety. Therefore, donating shoes is an opportunity to care for one another. We were glad to work with the staff at Samaritan’s Feet and hope to collaborate on future projects.” 

All recipients received a “Hope Tote” drawstring book bag containing a new pair of athletic shoes, socks, hygiene kit (toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, comb, alcohol wipe, mask, and washcloth), an encouraging “Hope Note,” and a flyer with activities to show kindness and best practices to stay healthy during the pandemic. Graham said the event is another example of how JCSU is an integral part of the Historic West End by using its resources to help improve the quality of life in the community.

"It was an amazing event and demonstrated that we have to help our fellow citizens during this holiday season,” said Graham. “Thanks to everyone involved, especially my JCSU family, for making this happen."

President and Mrs. Armbrister volunteering

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