Sunday, July 29, 2012

Boy Wins Hero Award for Giving New Shoes to Thousands of Kids in Shelters

Shoe charity founder Nicholas LowingerA 14-year-old from Rhode Island, Nicholas Lowinger, was chosen as a 2012 Huggable Hero, winning $10,000 for his outstanding work in public service. The boy's foundation, Gotta Have Sole, donates new footwear to children living in homeless shelters.
New shoes not only provide the perfect fit for a child, but they also instantly increase a child's self-esteem. To date, Nicolas has purchased 5,000 pairs of shoes for homeless kids by collecting donations worth $200,000.

Although the 501(c)(3) non-profit charity was initially established as a simple community service project for his Bar Mitzvah in November 2010, Nicholas has continued his selfless service. Shelters around the United States send him footwear orders with specific shoe sizes and Nicholas collects and hand delivers packages to the kids in RI and MA, and sends the rest to needy families as far away as Texas.

"I decided to give shoes because shoes take you places," said Nicholas. "You can't really go somewhere without shoes... and clothing is something people regularly donate to shelters."

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Nicholas held a special event to collect and send new footwear to more than 90 children of the first responders. Nicholas was named one of 15 “Huggable Heroes” by the Build-A-Bear Workshop this month, winning ten thousand dollars and earning a scholarship for himself, as well as $2,500 for his charity.
All these young philanthropists from the U.S. and Canada realize that kids can impact their community in a major way. The Good News Network will feature many of these Heroes over the next das on our Great Kids page.