ALPENA - One hundred Alpena Boys & Girls Club members will receive new shoes from Payless Shoes during this holiday season. Boy & Girls Club Executive Director Susan Nielsen, said she applied for the grant in early November and received the news earlier this month that Alpena was one of the 500 sites to receive the grant. She said during this time of year, any amount of money that can be used for local families is appreciated and welcomed.
"Our perspective at the Boys & Girls Club is that any money that can free up families to buy other necessities, instead of purchasing shoes, could go toward food or paying bills or whatever is needed is the most special thing," Nielsen said. "We're excited, happy, and thrilled for our kids and their families. It's really nice to have another partner."
Patti Grochowski, Alpena Payless store manager, said every year Payless donates $1.4 million in grants for organizations throughout the world, but she was happy to announce this year was the first year Alpena participated and was awarded the grant.
News Photo by Emily Siegmon
Patti Grochowski, Alpena Payless store manager, sizes Remington Buchler finding his correct shoe size while Dylan Konarzewski waits for his turn.
"We're really excited about this, we have lots to offer," Grochowski said. "The main intent is to help people during Christmas time."
Nielsen began the shoe shopping process with a small group of kids on Friday, but she plans on bringing groups of 10-12 children to the Alpena Payless until all 100 $20 gift certificates are used.
"We'll spend all of the certificates. The only criteria we have is that you are a Boys & Girls Club member from one of our three sites. If you want new shoes fill out our form and have your parents sign it," Nielsen said. "We've already had parents say that shoes were on their childrens wish list, maybe Santa could bring them something else."
Ivonne Hilleary, part-time associate, said all of the Alpena Payless employees are happy to be a part of a team that can give back to the community this year, during the holiday season.
"I think it's really cool to get something like this, especially because my family is having tough times right now. This is a really good thing for us," Dylan Knoarzewski, an AHS student, said.
Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687.