HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - Some generous people in our community stepped up to help less fortunate children. The students were smiling from head to toe.

The children got an essential tool for a successful school year: new shoes.

“We are here to fit and to match brand new athletic shoes for the kids,” said Rita Case, president and CEO of Rick Case Automotive.

It was shoe shopping day at Mary Bethune Elementary in Hollywood.

“Research says that over 90% of all kids with brand new shoes feel more confident, attend school more regularly, do more activities,” Case said.

Automotive mogul Case helped the kids pick out some great kicks. She started a new program that provides brand new name-brand sneakers to students experiencing homelessness.

The children expressed their gratitude.

“I wanna say, shout out to my mom. I wouldn’t be here without her, and I got good shoes,” said Oren, a fourth grader.

Every child got new kicks and socks. Some of them for the first time.

“Some people have no shoes, and they came out to our school to give these people certain shoes,” said Gia McNeal, a fourth grader.

Gia picked out a white pair.

“They’re Fila, and they’re really, really pretty, and I really, really like them a lot,” said Gia McNeal, a fourth grader.

More than 1,800 children in Southeast Florida are homeless and 7,000 of them are in Broward County.

“It’s because we’re getting new shoes, and I’m so happy,” said student.

Case said the new sneakers can help them feel equal to their peers.

“I want to be sure, and I am committed that every child that needs a pair of athletic shoes gets them for the school year,” Case said.

“I’m very thankful, I’m very grateful for what they gave to me,” Oren said.

The program will provide new sneakers for those kids at the start of every school year for the next five years.

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