Russellville Rotary expanding Happy Feet program
By Jim Turner

Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM

After a successful first effort in providing shoes for young students who needed them last year, Russellville Rotary Club is expanding its Happy Feet = Learning Feet program for the new school year.
Last year, Rotary raised the funds to provide new shoes for 226 students in kindergarten through sixth grade. This year the scope has increased to serve students in both the Russellville and Logan County school systems from kindergarten all the way through their senior year in high school.
Both school systems are cooperating. Superintendents Marshall Kemp (Logan) and Leon Smith (Russellville) are Rotarians. Staff of Family Resource Centers and Youth Service Centers at the eight schools involved are providing the names of those youngsters who need new shoes.
Through the generous support of many businesses and individuals, the Rotary Club was able to provide shoes for children from grades K-12.last year and had enough funds to expand this year. The response has again been good, and Rotarian Jim Riley, who leads the program, has had no doubt all along that the $12,000 goal will be reached.
Rotary sent out letters to last year’s contributors asking them to be a part of the program again. Other potential donors were also recipients of letters.
Riley became aware of the Happy Feet program while he was visiting family in Henderson a couple of years ago. He read a story about it being conducted in nearby Union County. Riley contacted the head of the Union County program, Jerry Baird, and learned more about it. He then brought the concept back to Rotary and the local schools. He has also contacted the Elkton Rotary Club.
Rotary is using with the Shoe Carnival store in Bowling Green about providing the shoes, and Shoe Carnival manager Peter Hopkins has worked closely with Rotarians to provide the shoes at a reasonable cost. Riley said shoes for the youngsters through sixth grade will average $32 each while shoes for seventh through twelfth graders will average $42 to $45.
Shoe Carnival representatives will meet with the youngsters chosen to receive shoes at the Crittenden Drive Church of Christ Fellowship Hall on Sept, 14 for fittings. The shoes will then be delivered in bulk within four to five weeks. “The students will be bused by the schools so that their selection will be discreet,” Riley said.
Holli Brown was president of Russellville Rotary Club when the program began. Tom Harned is the current president. Laurie Holloway who is a CPA, is Rotary treasurer, and Danny Harris, a Rotarian who works with finances in the Logan County Central Office, has obtained 501 C3 status for the program so that all donations will be deductible.

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