Citrus Heights Sentinel Logo

Shoe closet seeks donations to help local elementary school students

Mariposa Elementary
Mariposa Elementary is located at 7940 Mariposa Ave., in Citrus Heights. // CH Sentinel

By Sara Beth Williams–
A local nonprofit in Citrus Heights is continuing to provide new socks and shoes for children in need at Mariposa Avenue Elementary School.

In 2018, longtime Citrus Heights resident and former Sunrise Ranch Neighborhood Association board member Linda Fischer spearheaded the creation of a shoe closet at Mariposa Avenue Elementary School. Initial donations came from family, friends and the San Juan High School Class of ’66 book club.

Jackie Rittenhouse, Class of ’66 book club member, helped kick off early donations to the shoe closet, and continues to support the shoe closet today.

In an email to The Sentinel, Rittenhouse said she and Fischer reached out to the book club and other friends and collected about 40 pairs initially.

“It seemed like such a great accomplishment at the time,” Rittenhouse said. “We quickly realized that we would need many more pairs to fulfill the kids’ needs.”

Fischer officially formed the shoe closet into the nonprofit, Soles for Young Souls, in March of 2019 and operates as its founder and president. Rittenhouse also serves on the board for Soles for Young Souls Inc. Fischer said that “Shoe Angels,” including individuals and local businesses, have helped donate hundreds of shoes and socks since the shoe closet’s inception.

“Decent shoes can promote a positive self-image,” Fischer said, also adding that fast-growing children often need new shoes multiple times a year. “Thanks to our donors, Mariposa Avenue Elementary students no longer have to come to school wearing sandals in the winter, shoes held together by tape, or shoes painfully too small.”

During the height of the pandemic when students were remotely attending classes, donations dried up and the nonprofit was not able to distribute their resources. However, with students back in class now, Fischer said Soles for Young Souls Inc. is continuing its work and relies heavily on donations from local residents and businesses.

Mariposa Avenue Elementary School is designated as Title I school, which is a designation for schools with “high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families,” according to the U.S. Department of Education. The department provides financial assistance to such schools to help ensure children meet state academic standards.

Andrea Quinlan, Mariposa Avenue school secretary, described the shoe closet as “wonderful” and added that the kids love having access to new shoes.

Donations of socks and shoes can be dropped off at the Mariposa Elementary school office during regular school office hours, which are 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The school is located at 7940 Mariposa Ave.

Fischer said donations must be new, and must be appropriate for kids to wear during the school day. Gift cards and financial donations are also accepted and can be mailed to Soles for Young Souls, Inc. directly, at 7525 Maple Ave., Citrus Heights, CA, 95610. Donations via check may be made payable to Soles for Young Souls, Inc.

Like local news? Sign up for The Sentinel’s free email edition and get two emails a week with all local news and no spam, ever. (Click here)