Families receive a needed item from “Shoe Run”

Some area children will be wearing a new pair of kicks after a local organization donated shoes.

The La Crosse Track club met at Central High School to get in a workout that not only benefited their health, but the life of some area residents.

"When it came down to doing something at the end of our summer youth track season, we wanted to do something fun, but that was also good in returning something back to the community," Head Coach Dan Schraith said. 

What better way for track runners than to give to the those in the Family & Children Center’s Healthy Families program a new pair of shoes.

"Unfortunately 95 percent of the families in our Healthy Families program live below the poverty level." Development Director Jamie Korn said. "So getting a new pair of shoes is really a big deal."

However donating them wasn’t enough. The runners packed up their book bags and ran them over. It wasn’t the easiest run for some.

"Well it was harder than a lot of other runs that I do," Alexander Penzkover said.

"Hard because it was two miles and I’ve never run two miles before," Gabe Servais said.

The heat didn’t help either, but the reason for the run kept some of those going.

"I just want to make them happy, get them new shoes and be outside," Servais explained.

For others, it was having family by their side.

"It was fun because I usually don’t run with my mom," Alexander added.

The cause got Nicole Penzkover to want to get involved, even though she doesn’t consider herself a runner. Even after the run, she didn’t regret it.

"I would do it again in the hot weather no problem," Nicole defiantly said. "It kind of made it more beneficial, or better. Like it was hard but this is such a good thing."

Something organizers hope rubs off on families getting the shoes.

"Strapping on those shoes and going for a run, going for a walk with the family, getting outside and being active. That’s meaningful," Schraith described.

While also impacting the runners as they look around the city.

"Bring other people up first before yourself and always do the right thing," Alexander said.

The La Crosse Track Club, Gundersen Health System and Rogan’s Shoes donated 92 pairs of shoes to the families in the program. Healthy Families is a home visiting program offered to new or expecting parents who struggle with the demands and stress of raising a child.

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