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Foot Health Fair is Saturday

Buckingham County Public Schools, partnering with the Jenkins Donelson Foundation, is holding a Foot Health Fair that sees more than 300 pairs of shoes given away to area children.

Bryan Jackson

The event will take place Saturday from 10 a.m.-noon at the Carter G. Woodson Education Complex on Route 20.

The event is meant to coincide with back-to-school shopping. The event’s organizers will give away free pairs of shoes that will come mostly in children’s sizes, though new and gently-used pairs will go up to a size 10.

The fair will also focus on an aspect of health that can be often overlooked, especially for children: feet.

Carolyn Jenkins, executive director of the nonprofit Jenkins Donelson Foundation, based in Stafford County, said she has provided free shoes for the homeless in counties around Virginia.

Jenkins said she received a grant from The Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band, based in Charlottesville, that provided the funding for the shoes that will be given away in Buckingham.

“This is for the kids,” Jenkins said.

She said area businesses have jumped in to help, noting that Belk, McDonald’s and Walmart have provided coupons. Farmville’s Hibbett Sports will provide three volunteers who will administer shoe fittings for kids and adults.

The events are free.

Jenkins said there will be segments during the fair where participants can learn how to perform pedicures from home and use pumice stones. In addition, there will be segments that discuss diabetes, which Jenkins said is the No. 1 cause of lower limb amputation.

She said kids who wear tight or ill-fitting shoes may not realize they are in pain, but may become irritable or be unable to concentrate. If the problem persists, it may cause foot problems in adulthood.

“We work from the ground up,” Jenkins said about her organization’s goals. “The kids who need it the most are the ones we really want to serve.”

Jenkins said new shoes can also cause kids to be confident, which could help them in school.

“A decent pair of shoes can give somebody the self-esteem to pay enough attention long enough in school for the ‘spark’ to ignite for them to say, ‘I can do this,’” Jenkins said.

The foundation will travel to Wise County the following weekend to take part in the Remote Area Medical (RAM) event, which provides free medical services to the community.

Dr. Cecil Snead

She said working with Division Superintendent Dr. Cecil Snead and school principals has been rewarding.

Bryan Jackson, principal of Buckingham County Elementary School, said the event will benefit kids, particularly for good foot health.

“I think that this will be a wonderful event, and we are so appreciative to Ms. Jenkins and everyone at the Jenkins Donelson Foundation, The Wawa Foundation and the Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band for working to support our students and our community,” Jackson said in an email. “All children and especially primary- and elementary-aged students can benefit from learning about good foot health. We also know how quickly children can wear out shoes, so we are very grateful for the opportunity to give new pairs out to so many of our kids.”

Snead said Jenkins initially reached out to the school division and suggested the shoe drive.

“Anything that we can do to assist and educate our children and families is a win for our community,” Snead said, adding the event gives school system employees a way to give back to students.