School is back in session, and many students hoping to put their best foot forward found a way to do it at the First African Methodist Episcopal (FAME) Church’s 17th annual Back-To-School Shoe Giveaway in Oakland.< p>FAME provided free shoes, from Overstock.com, for 1,500 students on Saturday, Sept. 28, in partnership with sponsors that included AEG Facilities, the Oracle Arena and O.co Coliseum, Golden State Warriors and the Oakland Raiders.
Started by Rev. Harold Mayberry when he became pastor of FAME, this year’s event drew thousands. The giveaway brought together community and non-profit organizations to ensure that young people from low-income families could receive a new pair of shoes.
“There’s a real need and real interest,” said Rev. Mayberry. “Can you imagine the feeling a young person has in going back to school with a new pair of shoes? It makes them feel better about themselves, it makes them feel better about what they’re doing in their education, and it lifts their self-esteem.”
Parents and students lined up in the parking lot of the Oracle Arena, passing multiple vendors stations that provided information on health, community and education issues.
Kaiser Permanente, Covered California, and Alameda County Social Services were among the agencies that offered free vaccinations, information on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and healthy living.
Students received free books from the Oakland Public Library, complimentary lunches, and an opportunity to meet the Raiderettes and Warrior Girls.