Payless Shoes helps children get fresh and free new kicks

Children from around the area shopped till they dropped Monday ... all thanks to an area business.

Payless Shoes included the Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Central Illinois in its annual grant. The "Payless Gives Shoes For Kids" program is an annual grant that gives children around the country the gift of a new pair of kicks.

About 75 children around the area qualified for a free twenty dollar gift certificate to Payless Shoes through the grant. Throughout the morning, these kids strolled through the shoe store looking for that pair calling their name.

Toni Hastings is a program director for the Big Brothers Big Sisters. She said kids were lined up outside before the store opened.

"This gives an opportunity for all of our kids to get brand new shoes. Many times lower income families have to use hand-me-downs or go to thrift shops to get new shoes and this could be the first time they ever receive new shoes," Hastings said. "This is just wonderful. They are so happy running up and down the aisles here trying to find new shoes for themselves and actually they are more excited to find their siblings shoes than themselves. This is just a wonderful opportunity for them."

This is the second year the Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Central Illinois qualified for the grant.

Big Brothers and Big Sisters of West Central Illinois is holding an event on February 2nd with the Quail Forever organization. The kids in the program will learn hunter safety and get a chance to hunt quail.