CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A local entertainer, who goes by Larro the comedian, collects shoes, but now he’s giving them away to kids whose parents can’t afford them. And others are helping him do it.
Larry Smith has dozens of shoes, but growing up, that wasn’t the case.
“We used to have to rock paper scissors for who was getting their school clothes.”
That’s why he’s decided to help kids in the same situation he was in.
“I just looked through all of these shoes that I had, and I was just genuinely, like, ‘man there’s so many people who could appreciate stuff like this,’ so I just jumped out of bed and thought let’s make some kids happy.”
Through Facebook, he found parents who couldn’t afford to buy their kids shoes. So far, he’s donated more than 80 pairs to young boys across the state. And now, others are stepping in to help.
“You know it’s always important to make sure a child goes back to school with a nice pair of shoes because there’s so much bullying going on.”
Smith says more than 40 people have reached out to donate new or hardly used shoes, and they say they’re happy to do it.
“Everybody in the community talks about how we need to do this, do this, but it ain’t nothing if you ain’t taking action, so he took action and did it.”
“I was raised in a generation where they say you gotta be raised by the village, and I‘m a product of that. I came from this area, so it was a great thing to see so many people jump on board and wanting to help and show the kids that it’s more than just their mothers and fathers.”
Smith says he does it for people like Kristy Carpenter, a single mother who also cares for her sister’s children.
“With my situation, with my sister passing and me taking in my nephews, it just meant a lot that he actually reached out and said, ‘hey, if you need, we’re here.'”
And Smith says he’s not going anywhere, and he doesn’t plan to stop giving out shoes anytime soon.
“Until every kid gets a shoe. I mean that’s the genuine goal.”
Smith says the next step is to start collecting money for girls shoes. If you want to donate, you can do so online or you can call Smith at 773-541-1191.