All Children Shall Have Shoes 2014
All Children Shall Have Shoes ~ also known as ACSHS!
Every year before the holidays start, in several locations around Illinois, Pioneers and friends gather for the ACSHS project in support of the education of children in our community. The children are normally bussed to a shoe store and get to select their VERY OWN pair of shoes, typically its tennis shoes or boots for winter. The children are so polite and carefully choose their shoes with the guidance of a Pioneer. After the shoes are paid for, some children can get a photo with Santa. The shoe store employees are wonderfully helpful.
In 2014, for this project, over $40,000 was spent and 1380 children received a new pair of shoes! It is one of our favorite projects we support and life members in Illinois are so very generous in their supporting ~ providing over 75% of the shoes!
In the early ‘60s a group of Illinois Bell outside plant technicians wanted to start a holiday project to benefit children. New shoes don’t seem a likely gift, but it is when you don’t have any. An idea was born in downstate Illinois, by former employee Rudy Korach. Rudy’s daughter and granddaughter are still actively involved in this project in Springfield and consider it a family tradition. “All Children Shall Have Shoes” has remained an annual event for Pioneers and their families in the downstate area. Over the years, this project has grown to include hundreds of children and volunteers in communities throughout Illinois . The Pioneers in the Decatur area have passed this family tradition on as well, for the past 40 years. Volunteers prepare gift bags, greet the children at the shoe store, where they are fitted with a new pair of shoes or boots. The children are also treated to a new pair of socks, mittens or gloves, a hat and a special treat from Santa.
ACSHS has been a standing project for various Clubs within the Chapters Life Member Council for a number of years now. Due to the popularity and success of the Life Member’s project, the Illinois Chapter adopted ACSHS as a Chapter sponsored event that would include regular member councils. This shift greatly increased the potential for fund raising and broadened our reach within the targeted communities. The result was an increase in participating schools which ultimately allowed us to assist more children.