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Third annual Kicks 4 Kids shoe drive set for next weekend; organizers accepting donations

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Kicks 4 Kids is back again for the third consecutive summer to provide free shoes to young people in the Lawrence community.

The shoe drive was started in 2020 by Ja’Darius “JD” Woods and Anthony Harvey Jr., who both graduated from Lawrence High School in 2016 and wanted to find ways to give back to their community. In addition to Kicks 4 Kids, the duo host Coats 4 Kids in the winter.

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“When JD brought this idea to me during the COVID summer, we were nervous if we could gain enough support to do this, and ever since the first summer, we have been blown away by the love and support the community has shown for the kids and young adults in this city,” Harvey said.

“Lawrence is a beautiful city and JD and I couldn’t be more thankful and blessed to have grown up in a city like Lawrence.”

Last summer’s Kicks 4 Kids resulted in around 150 pairs of shoes given to kids and approximately $1,000 raised for Lawrence Public Schools IPS program and Unified Sports, Harvey said. With around 300 pairs of shoes given away the first year, Harvey said their goal is to stay in the 150 to 200 range this year and that kids are oftentimes able to walk away with multiple pairs each.

“The best is when a kid comes thinking they will get like one pair and they leave with three to five, and it makes our day,” Harvey said.

Cash donations will be given to Van Go this year. The social service agency works to foster youth expression and creativity through art in Douglas County. Young artists recently unveiled commissioned benchmarks featuring their original art at an event to conclude the annual Van Go Benchmark summer program

Woods and Harvey will be accepting all sizes of new and gently used shoes up until the morning of the upcoming drive. For questions or to coordinate a location to drop off donated shoes beforehand, contact Harvey via his Instagram account, @homeboyharv, call him at 785-979-7755, or reach Woods via his Instagram account, @hollywoodwoods1.

Harvey said he recommends people who cannot donate, but still want to support, attend the event anyway and “just see the kids’ and parents’ smiles” and enjoy the “good vibes.”

Cash donations can go to @homeboyharv on Venmo or Cash App.

Kicks 4 Kids is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 20 at the Lawrence High south parking lot, 1901 Louisiana St. Kids in need of shoes can stop by anytime during that window. No registration is needed.

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Maya Hodison (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at mhodison (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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