Charities team up to give migrant children new shoe
Pomona based Newcomers Access Center, in partnership with Claremont’s own Shoes That Fit, has donated 274 pairs of new shoes to the unaccompanied minors currently living at the Pomona Fairplex.
When Newcomers Access Center board members learned back in April through Supervisor Hilda Solis that the Fairplex had been selected to house the migrant children, the organization immediately wanted to help. The group decided to buy the youths new shoes and launched a fundraising campaign that eventually collecting enough for 185 pairs. Shoes that Fit donated another 89 pairs and each child also received five pairs of socks.
Five volunteers packed their vehicles with the donations and delivered the shoes last Friday.
“It’s not much, but we are supporting these children as much a possible right now,” Anne Thorward, NAC board member said.
Sara Orduna, the group’s liaison at the Fairplex, said the children, ages five to 17 really love the shoes, as many arrived with nothing of their own. She said over 600 children have already been reunited with family members throughout the country and another 600 reside at Fairplex currently, with many more to follow. The goal is to locate the children’s families within three weeks of arrival at the Fairplex.
“It’s really great that we can at least do something for these migrant kids,” NAC board member and Claremont resident Andy Winnick said as he loaded up his van.
“The Newcomers Access Center helps refugee and immigrant families connect with appropriate services and resources in order to aid them to become self-sufficient and integrate meaningfully into the larger society. NAC finds organizations to work with newcomers to build integrated communities where all cultures are respected,” reads the organization’s mission statement.
NAC started in 2016 when a group of volunteers organized to help refugees who had recently arrived in the Inland Valley. The center incorporated as a non-profit in 2018 and is located at 401 N. Gibbs Street in Pomona. The group offers workshops and events as well as information and referrals for employment, English classes, naturalization, translators legal concerns and transportation.
Anyone who would like to help Newcomers Access Center’s shoe drive can donate money through the group’s GoFundMe page at: https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/shoes-for-migrant-children