CNO 2.0 Meeting Recap 11/18/21: Shoes 4 the Shoeless, Kris Horlacher

CNO 2.0 Venue and Details

The venue for tonight’s CNO 2.0 meeting was Loose Ends Brewing, 890 S Main St, Centerville, OH. Thank you to the team at Loose Ends Brewing for the great beer, food and space.

There were 26 attendees at the meeting (21 members and 5 guests).

Jesse Gaither, CNO 2.0 Committee, said he was so thankful for all the guests and members that came to tonight’s meeting.

Shoes for the Shoeless, Kris Horlacher

Jesse Gaither introduced Kris Horlacher, the Founder and Executive Director of Shoes 4 the Shoeless (S4TS) that she founded in 2010. Over 125,000 children have been served. They are a mobile shoe store with 2 trucks. In 2016, S4TS received the BBB Eclipse Integrity Award. Prior to starting S4TS, Kris was a nurse.

Kris has 12 siblings and grew up learning what poor is. She said that poverty is not the same as it was decades ago. What people go without now is much worse.

You can view Kris’s slide deck here.

CNO gave Kris the 2021 Community Champion Award. You can read more about S4TS in the article about that award here.

About Shoeless for the Shoeless

Their mission is, “To provide new, properly fitting gym shoes and socks to local children in need.”

Their vision is, “Relentlessly pursue our mission so that no child endures the unnecessary physical and emotional distress that results from wearing socks/shoes that are grossly inadequate. We will strive to become a valued organization in our community, known for our devoted and caring volunteers along with our faith-in-action.”

Each month, 500+ volunteers help to make shoe deliveries possible. Some school districts send high school students to serve as volunteers.

Properly fitting shoes and socks is the biggest unmet need for a child in poverty. Deformed toes do not correct themselves unless corrected before high school.

S4TS provides shoes and socks to children in desperate need. Many have worn shoes that were ill-fitting for a long period of time. Growth deformities occur due to shoes being too tight, too large, or falling apart.

For many of the children they help, S4TS provides the first pair of shoes that was purchased specifically for them.

Socks are also a huge need for the children served. They see many socks that are falling part or children who are not even wearing socks with their shoes.

Dayton Tornadoes

After the Dayton tornadoes, there was not much for some children to be joyful about. S4TS went out in the midst of the rubble and provided hope. She started working in the early morning hours the day after 21 tornadoes hit the Dayton area on Memorial Day 2019, because she knew a lot of help would be needed.

Children’s Hospital Partnerships

Shoes 4 the Shoeless partners with both Dayton Children’s and Cincinnati Children’s Hospitals.

Dayton Children’s Hospital asked S4TS if there is a way to help get shoes for their needy patients. The solution S4TS created was to have a fully stocked shoe closet at both Children’s Hospitals. There are now 12 shoe closets in the community. Some patients are in the hospital so long that their feet grow enough that their shoes no longer fit. This is a huge expense for many families who are already struggling with their child’s treatments.

S4TS Stories About Schools They Have Helped

Kris said they continue to see the absolute BEST of America and Americans. They have seriously met some of the most incredible people in our country.

  • A school S4TS did shoe delivery at collected goods for them to take on a relief trip to North Carolina after it was decimated by a hurricane. The school had a thank you parade of students for the S4TS volunteers. The NC Kids of impoverished families put several boxes of supplies that were needed in Texas when it was decimated by a hurricane.
  • A local principal rallied her school building to collect backpacks for S4TS to take to Texas after a hurricane ripped through the greater Houston area. They even filled the backpacks with supplies for the school-age children in that part of the country.
  • A principal in Texas and her staff saved many school supplies from flood waters. The S4TS team was able to come down and help provide additional supplies and manpower to help get their building operational again. Only one school stayed dry because it was high enough on a hill. They were stacking laptops on top of each other to try and keep them dry. During this Kris and her team were sleeping in a church with no running water. Kris and her team were invited back to the principal’s home to sleep and he then wrote a $10,000 personal check to S4TS.

Food 4 the People Project

At the height of the COVID pandemic, we pivoted and created the Food 4 the People project. A week before the COVID shutdown occurred, she knew people were going to starve. Food banks and St Vincent de Paul called her to ask if S4TS could help.

People, organizations, and companies gathered food. The food was collected at church partners and organized for distribution.

Volunteers stepped up to drive and hand-deliver bags of food to people in need around our community. CHS football players helped load vehicles and then asked to help deliver.

From March 2020 to June 2020 they delivered 110,000 meals helping 3000 families. Check out this video, Food 4 the People Donates 6,800 boxes of Food.

Thank You Kris Horlacher

Thank you, Kris Horlacher and your organization. We have all been enlightened to the issue of shoes for the youth in need in our communities.

Club Announcements

  • Christy Gariety, Adopt-a-Family co-chair, announced that she and Sue Jessee are accepting $50 gift cards at CNO lunches and on Christmas Tree Delivery Day (Nov 20) with activation code receipts from Kohl’s, Target, or Walmart to be given to families this holiday season. The cards need to be received by 11/29/2021. You may also mail the gift cards with the activation receipts and a note stating, “From Centerville Noon Optimist Member”, to Centerville Schools, Adopt A Family Program, 111 Virginia Ave, Centerville OH 45458. Email her if you send a donation.
  • Gary Hansen announced that the TOP Optimist Club is selling Poinsettias for $15 as a fundraiser. Delivery will be December 7, 2021 at the noon lunch meeting.
  • Greg Griffin announced the tree lot will be open 11/26/2021. The shifts all end by 8 PM each evening. Please show up for your assigned shifts to help with one of your club’s major fundraisers.

About CNO 2.0

CNO 2.0 is a club within a club of the Centerville Noon Optimist club. CNO (and CNO 2.0) is a world class service organization. Being a member of either club allows their members all the same opportunities to participate in fundraising and club activities. CNO 2.0 was created about 5 years ago and is very much a part of the 53-year-old Centerville Noon Optimist Club. CNO has given away over $2 million during its history. CNO is a group of like-minded members that are passionate about helping youth and having fun in the process.

The speaker at each 2.0 meeting is someone with a local business success story.

Annual Fundraisers

  • Christmas Tree Lot
  • Avenue of Flags
  • Golf Outing

Major Activities for the youth in our community

  • Build-a-Bear at Children’s Hospital, 3 times a year
  • Fishing Derby in June
  • Kid’s Day in the Park in August
  • Easter Egg Hunt