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A perfect fit

October 14, 2004

Mike Sciacca

Shoe shopping never looked so fun, as the smiles on the faces of 49

local youngsters would attest.

Sunrise Rotary of Huntington Beach played the role of Santa to

youngsters between the ages of 1 and 14, by giving them a shopping

spree Saturday at a Payless ShoeSource store on Beach Boulevard.

The event, which project sponsor Jane Crane termed, "Happy Feet"

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or "Shoe Bash," provided shoes for deserving children who might not

have the opportunity to purchase new shoes for the school year.

It is the first year for the program and the beaming smiles --

along with the children's gratitude -- indicated it was a success.

"It was a wonderful day for everybody," said Crane, herself a

member of the Sunrise Rotary of Huntington Beach. "The children were

elated and Rotary really stepped up to the plate ... and of course,

Payless Shoes was just terrific."

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Huntington Valley and the Orange

County Child Abuse Prevention Center chose the children.

"The day was an absolute success and so many of these kids got a

second pair of shoes, something most of us take for granted," said

Tanya Hoxie, CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Huntington Valley.

"We were so pleased that Sunrise Rotary partnered with the Boys and

Girls Clubs to make it such a special, special day for these

children. They deserve it."

Crane said she came up with the idea for the program through a

Self Expression and Leadership course she had taken through Landmark

Education.

"I called Payless Shoes and discussed the possibility of such an

event, and they were really supportive," she said. "They really

helped us make some deserving children very happy."

Sunrise Rotary put up $500 for the purchase of new shoes, and that

amount was matched by the Rotary District, Crane said, bringing the

total to $1,000.

Payless ShoeSource, she said, offered a 10% discount to the

Rotarians on anything bought in the store. Children were given $20

cards and at times, Crane said, Payless would cover the cost if a

purchase went a few dollars over the card.

"We had the ability to buy 49 pairs of shoes and socks," Crane

said. "What's great is that the children got to pick out whatever

they wanted, and Rotary and Payless picked up the balance."

Following the one-hour shopping spree, the children were treated

to a picnic at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Huntington Valley,

Kingston Branch, complete with food, clowns -- four volunteers from

the Church of Religious Science in Huntington Beach dressed the part

-- balloon animals and face painting.

"It is Rotary's intention to put smiles on the faces of the

children and create a sense of pride in their new foot ware," Crane

added. "Rotary's motto is 'Lend a Hand,' and I believe we did that

today."

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