Opportunities include setting up booth, donating or hosting backpack drive

The Knoxville Area Urban League is seeking support for its 21st Shoes for School event from elected officials, business leaders and the community. Contributions, including booth participation, donations and backpacks, empower East Tennessee students ahead of the school year.

“For two decades, we have counted on our community to make students’ new school year the best yet,” said Dr. Charles F. Lomax Jr., president and CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League. “East Tennesseans have come through year after year to help us provide supplies and resources that make going back-to-school a better experience for our youth. We are asking our community, yet again, to be there for students by supporting Shoes for School.”

Booths are available for a $25 donation. Nonprofits that can connect families with critical resources, businesses willing to offer their services to help students succeed and groups that would like to hand out school supplies are invited to apply. Complete the booth sponsor form at thekaul.org/shoes by Monday, June 26, to secure a spot.

Companies committed to ensuring a better future for the next generation also can sponsor Shoes for School. View sponsorship levels and benefits at thekaul.org/shoes. Contact Ahnna Estes at 865-524-5511 through Friday, June 30, to finalize the sponsorship.

Businesses and organizations are encouraged to collect backpacks for the event. New, unused backpacks for kindergarten to middle school students are needed. Donations may be dropped off at the Knoxville Area Urban League, 1514 E. 5th Ave., by Friday, July 28. For large donations, call the Urban League at 865-524-5511 to schedule drop-off.

Lastly, donations of any amount are appreciated – just $25 provides a new pair of shoes for a child in need. Give at thekaul.org/shoes or by mailing a check and the completed form from the website to the Knoxville Area Urban League, PO Box 1911, Knoxville, TN 37901.

“Shoes for School provides more than pairs of shoes – it has given thousands of kids confidence in the classroom for 20 years,” Lomax said. “Your support helps local students prepare for the year and opportunities ahead.”

The 21st annual Shoes for School, presented by Tennessee Valley Authority and Pilot Company, will be Saturday, Aug. 5, from 9 a.m. to noon at Caswell Park, 570 Winona St. The event coincides with the start of school, which is Monday, Aug. 7, for Knox County students.

Attendees can expect food, games, inflatables and free giveaways from dozens of booth sponsors representing businesses, civic and non-profit organizations, church groups and others.