In honor of Giving Tuesday, the Los Angeles Rams and nonprofit Shoes That Fit teamed up for the second year in a row to provide new athletic shoes to more than 500 students at 99th Street Elementary School in Watts, CA, a school in the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools' network.
As part of the team's five-week 'Season of Giving' initiative, the festive event featured a Rams PLAY 60 Field Day and appearances from Rams offensive lineman Steve Avila, punter Ethan Evans, wide receiver Xavier Smith, cornerback Tre Tomlinson , Rams Cheerleaders and team mascot Rampage.
Nekeda Newell-Hall, chief strategy officer at Shoes That Fit, said, "Partnering with the LA Rams helps to encourage kids, let them know that someone in their community not only cares about them but is taking the time to spend the day with them and investing in them because they are our future."
Shoes That Fit, a national nonprofit organization based in Claremont, CA, tackles one of the most visible signs of poverty in America by giving children in need new athletic shoes to attend school with dignity and joy, prepared to learn, play, and thrive. Named a California Nonprofit of the Year in 2017, Shoes That Fit delivered new athletic shoes to approximately 150,000 children in more than 1,500 schools across all 50 states last year alone.
Giving students of 99th Street Elementary gives students the confidence to go to school, see their friends and feel comfortable in the shoes they wear.
"When I was a kid, we had people come and talk to us and I know how much of the mark that left on me. Being a role model, that's my goal for them to be able to look up to me and have a path for where they want to go," said Rams offensive lineman Steve Avila.
Last year, the Rams and Shoes that Fit provided new athletic shoes to 400 students at Highland Elementary in Inglewood, CA in honor of Giving Tuesday. In 2018, the Rams, Shoes that Fit and the Los Angeles Police Department teamed up to surprise more than 200 students at Holmes Avenue Elementary School with new athletic shoes and a PLAY 60 Field Day.
Superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District Alberto Carvalho explained the impact of the event. "Eighty percent of our kids live at or below the poverty level. The basic essentials that they need to live to go to school, like shoes, are extremely important." He emphasized the community presence the Rams have and how giving 500 students new shoes would not be possible without the team's partnership with Shoes That Fit.
Between November 21 and December 20, the Rams are teaming up with community partners to give back to the Los Angeles community through its inaugural five-week 'Season of Giving' campaign. Since 2018, Rams players, cheerleaders, mascot Rampage, and front office staff have participated in annual Community Blitz days of service that have helped distribute holiday meals and gift cards to Southern California residents battling food insecurity and host shopping sprees for hundreds of children served by local nonprofits and hospitals.
Newell-Hall added that the event and partnership shows the Rams and Shoes that Fit's effort to, "invest in LA's children together."