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Church Helping Schoolkids put ‘Best Foot Forward’

SCRANTON, Pa. -- We all know the feeling of a brand-new pair of shoes that fit just right. The students at Charles Sumner School in Scranton each got a pair donated by members of Parker Hill Church as part of their "Best Foot Forward" program.

Charles Sumner Principal Meg Duffy was asked earlier this year what she thought her students could use for Christmas.

"This story is actually inspired by a little girl who was at our school who came to me one day and said, 'Miss Duffy, my feet are hurting.' I said, 'OK, sit at my table, let me see what's wrong,'" Duffy recalled.

Duffy says the soles of the girl's sneakers fell right off. Duffy replaced them but keeps the shoe in her office to this day.

"It's still my 'why' every day. What we do as public servants and providing for our kids."

After Charles Sumner, Parker Hill will do this at elementary schools in Luzerne and Wyoming Counties.

"This year, we asked them, 'Hey, what do you need for Christmas? What can we get you?' All three schools said that they need shoes. It was like almost instant. They didn't even let me finish the sentence," said Pastor Brady Funkhouser.

Most of the kids opted to wear their new kicks for the rest of the day, taking their old shoes home in a box.

Permission slips went home to parents about a month ago. Moms and dads got to choose between snow boots or sneakers. The kids got to pick their favorite color.

The shoes were offered at cost by local businesses then purchased by members of Parker Hill Church.

"It's so awesome to see the kids so excited and running around. We've been organizing for weeks now, weeks. It's been really cool to see the kids' smiles," said Pastor Funkhouser.

In all, Parker Hill plans to donate close to 2,000 pairs of sneakers and boots before Christmas.

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