Hundreds of sneakers donated to kids in need

Posted at 6:05 PM, Sep 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-06 16:05:29-04

The Shepard’s Closet -- a school bus turned mobile closet -- is making a special delivery to the families of Jasper Parrish.

Manned by volunteers and fueled by True Bethel Baptist Church, the bus is stocked with more than 700 pairs of shoes in all styles and sizes just in time for the first day of school.

Reverend Darius Pridgen, who also serve as President of the Buffalo Common Council, says the experience was eye opening.

On the heels of Buffalo’s resurgence, Monday’s experience highlighted just how deep the city’s economic divide truly is. “We never expected lines of people for sneakers the day before school,” Reverend Pridgen told 7 Eyewitness News.

A 2015 study found that the Buffalo-Niagara region ranked in the top 10 for cities for the highest concentration of minorities living in poverty. The research revealed that in some pockets of the Queen City, nearly 60 to 80 percent of blacks and Hispanics are living in poverty.

It's an issue Pridgen is working to chip away at with programs like the Shepard’s Closet.

“People have been so grateful and so thankful that it further shows me the need for us to not only do this once a year but to continue this effort throughout the year.”

Would you like to make a donation to help the mission of the Shepard's Closet? You can contact True Bethel Baptist Church at (716) 895-8222.