Head Start Santa bringing shoes to kids

HARLINGEN — Laura Garcia is ready to see hundreds of smiling little kindergartners walk out of Walmart today with brand new shoes.

She said the annual Neighbors In Need Of Services Inc. Shoe Campaign gives its students a $20 gift card to buy any pair of shoes and socks they like every Christmas season.

And today is the day.

Hundreds of kindergarten students will be shopping at Walmart in Brownsville this morning and in Harlingen this afternoon for shoes, boots, sandals or even the slipper bear claw house shoes with lights the shopping center has for sale.

The program is a collaborative effort with Cameron County District Clerk Eric Garza who organizes the funds for the donations through Cameron County juror contributions.

Garcia, NINOS Inc. family services coordinator, expects up to 200 children in the Harlingen and Brownsville areas will receive the shoe donation and meet Santa Claus today.

The Shoe Campaign has been going on for 13 years.

Garza will feature Santa Claus giving the children a goody bag.

“They get so happy trying to choose their own shoes,” Garcia said. “The parents are very grateful.”

The expression in the children’s faces is priceless.

“You know now-a-days with the selection of shoes like shoes that light up and princess and superhero shoes,” Garcia said.

NINOS Inc. is a nonprofit organization providing services to children and families in Cameron and Willacy counties through the Head Start Program.

The agency operates 59 Head Start and Early Head Start Centers. The total enrollment is 2,914 students from pregnancy to 3-year old in Early Head Start and 3 and 4-years-olds in Head Start.

The mission of NINOS, Inc. is to create a brighter future for children and “La Familia.” They work to enhance the development of young children, promote healthy families, provide for staff development and establish partners among the community.