Volunteers from Hat World and Genesco Inc. gave 300 Indianapolis school-aged children new shoes and warm hats for the holidays. In addition, volunteers were joined by Indianapolis Colts players, led by Gary Brackett and Cato June, who visited with the children and spread holiday cheer.
The event, “Cold Feet, Warm Shoes” is Genesco's annual community outreach program, was held at Indianapolis' Francis Scott Key Elementary School. It is the second year in a row that the national event has been held in Indianapolis.
Genesco Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Hal N. Pennington, Genesco President Bob Dennis, Hat World President Ken Kocher and Hat World Co Founder and Chief Operating Officer Glenn Campbell, along with more than 70 company volunteers, set up and staffed a mock shoe and hat store created in the elementary school's gymnasium.
Company volunteers individually measured and fit each child at the school, offering them their choice of new shoes and the same individual service provided at any of Genesco's 1,900 stores across the U.S. In addition, the Company gave warm knit hats donated by Hat World to each child at the fitting.
Cold Feet, Warm Shoes was started by Genesco in Nashville 17 years ago to provide needy individuals with a new pair of shoes for the winter, to empower them with a choice of shoe style and to ensure a proper fit while giving them the same service a paying customer would receive at any of Genesco's 1,900 retail stores. Following Genesco's 2004 acquisition of Indianapolis-based Hat World, Genesco expanded the program into the Indianapolis market last year. Since the program's inception, more than 35,000 pairs of shoes have been donated to the needy across the U.S.
“It is important to us that we give back to the community and those less fortunate,” Pennington said. “As a leading footwear and headwear company, we are giving back in a way that makes not only good sense but also a tremendous impact in the Indianapolis community.”
Five Indianapolis Colts players, led by Brackett and June, took an active role in the event working side by side with the volunteers and assisting the children during their fittings.
According to United Way of Central Indiana, more than 64,000 children in the metropolitan Indianapolis area live in poverty — enough to more than fill the RCA Dome.
“Giving back to the community where we work and live is important. We hope the several hours we spend with the children at Francis Scott Key will help make their holiday seasons a little brighter with the new shoes and warm hats,” Kocher added.
The footwear and hats for the fitting were donated by Genesco's operating divisions, including Journeys, Journeys Kidz, Underground Station, Dockers Footwear and Hat World. In addition, The Timberland Company donated footwear for the fitting.