Thousands of families were lined up Thursday morning outside Skid Row’s Fred Jordan Mission, which was expected to provide free shoes, clothing, school supplies and haircuts for 4,000 underprivileged children.
Billed as “America’s largest back-to-school giveaway,” the annual event will also feature a fashion show, giving the children an opportunity to show off their new apparel.
“I was born at the end of the Great Depression and I still remember going to school without shoes, in spite of the fact that both my parents worked,” said Willie Jordan, president of Fred Jordan Missions. “I will never forget the embarrassment, humiliation and shame I felt for not having shoes to wear. When I grew up, I determined that I would dedicate my life to help children avoid that same humiliation and give them the basic tools they need to succeed in life.”
The charitable organization and Foot Locker held the first “Cares for Kids” giveaway 25 years ago, when 200 pairs of free shoes were distributed, according to a news release from Fred Jordan Missions.
Volunteers from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will begin escorting children through the event at 9 a.m., officials said.
Some of the families had reportedly been waiting in line since 10 p.m. Wednesday.