SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Students at McClernand Elementary School didn’t just go home with homework on Wednesday – they also rocked a new pair of shoes. 

Students at SIU’s School of Medicine who are a part of the pediatric interest group raised money to buy the shoes for the elementary school kids.

It’s part of the Shoes That Fit program, a national initiative meant to give shoes to students who need them most.

For the past 15 years, the school has given more than 1,200 pairs of shoes to kids, and this year, they plan to add 100 more.

“All of these students are well deserving and need the shoes, especially with winter time coming and it getting cold,” Kortni Kemper, a third year medical student at SIU’s School of Medicine, said. “So it’s important that they have a good pair of shoes, something that can last them throughout the entire winter and into next year, hopefully.”

School staff measured the kids’ feet and sent the sizes over to the medical students. Parents could also request shoes for their kids.

“Parents can put in the preferred size for the student,” Kemper said. “If the size doesn’t fit like we’ve seen a couple times today, we’ll just go buy another pair of shoes and bring them back later this afternoon anyway,” Kemper said.

As the students made their way to the gym, volunteers helped them pick out their favorite pair and they tried them on.

Kemper said this is a unique opportunity to connect with the community.

“We’re interacting with these individuals all the time, either through the schools, through clinics, whatever it may be, or whatever work you may do, it’s important for us to stay involved in the community and show that we really do care about the individuals and want them to succeed and to do well,” Kemper said.

The medical students will be bringing more shoes to kids at Enos Elementary School on Thursday.