WIBH Warm Soles, New Hope Campaign ‘tremendous success’

WIBH Radio in Anna announces that the recent Warm Soles, New Hope Campaign to provide new shoes for children in need was a tremendous success; more than doubling the goal in the first year of the effort.

The shoes, which have arrived and are being prepared for distribution, were a local fund-raiser held during Child Abuse Prevention Month in April.  

WIBH raised over $7,200 between April and May; the goal was $3,000. Donations of more than $6,700 poured in from individuals, businesses and organizations throughout the region.  

Like with WIBH’s annual winter coat campaign, the radio station partnered with the same local agencies for the shoe campaign.  

Shoes will be distributed through the Children’s Medical and Mental Health Resource Network, CMMHRN, in Anna, Arrowleaf in Vienna and all Southern 7 Head Start locations to kids affected by abuse, neglect, disaster and family need sometime before the start of the school year.  

No paperwork or proof of income is required to receive a pair of shoes. 

Postal Pal in Anna donated $450 to cover shipping costs, which allowed  100 percent of the donations to be used only for shoes.  

A total of 480 pairs of shoes were purchased. Sponsorship of a pair of shoes was $15.

Other area businesses also partnered with WIBH to keep shoe costs low.  

Duck Works Lawn Care in Cobden and Shawnee Mass Transit District in Vienna and Anna helped to coordinate distribution to the sites. 

T&I Office Equipment in Anna donated the printing of flyers used in outreach.  

The idea to form a shoe campaign was suggested nearly a decade ago by Dr. Kathy Swafford, a local pediatrician and long-time child abuse prevention advocate in the region.  

As a pediatrician, Swafford said she sees firsthand the needs of her patients, which often are reflected in the community at large.  

Following the first coat campaign at WIBH, she shared her desire to hold a fund-raiser to buy new shoes for kids in Southern Illinois.  

“Several years ago, I learned of a program providing shoes and socks to needy children in another area of Illinois. I recognized this was a program that we needed locally,” Swafford said.

“WIBH has successfully pursued the idea and partnering with Warm Coats as well as other businesses and agencies, has brought this to our area.”

After years of searching for the right partner to bring Swafford’s idea to life, WIBH learned that Operation Warm, the same organization that supports the WIBH New Coats, New Hope Campaign each year, was now offering shoes.  And the rest is history.

“Once again, our listeners have shown their generosity to their community.  We are grateful for the overwhelming support they’ve provided for the Warm Soles, New Hope Campaign,” said Moury Bass, co-owner of WIBH. 

The shoes, sizes 6 toddler to 4 kids, were purchased through the nonprofit organization Operation Warm, through its Warm Soles program.  

The organization expanded its mission in 2020 of giving to include shoes that inspire confidence and encourage outdoor play.  

Since the program began, over 30,000 pairs of shoes have been distributed in the United States  

The addition of shoes gives WIBH and its campaign partners the opportunity to help children in need here at home. 

For more information, or to request a pair of shoes for a child in need, contact Moury Bass at WIBH at 833-9424, Shawnna Rhine at Southern 7 Head Start at 618-634-2297, extension 9161, or visit the WIBH Warm Soles, New Hope Campaign on Facebook. To learn more about Operation warm, visit operationwarm.org.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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