Donna Siegel and Betty Snapp have been the driving force in the Tennies for Kids program since starting it six years ago.

The idea is that every young person ought to start the school year with at least good pair of shoes. For many families, that is a struggle.

“There’s always a need,” Siegel said.

This year Tennies for Kids had a goal of raising $15,000, or 1,500 pairs of shoes, before school starts less than a month from now. Several days ago, things weren’t looking too good.

“We had some weeks there where we were really sweating it,” Snapp said.

But a large contribution put the count at $14,818.08 as of this week, and Snapp and Siegel were confident that the rest will come in.

“I guess it’s just another example of how God comes through even when you feel like you can’t,” Siegel said.

Shoes are being distributed as part of the Community Services League’s back-to-school events on Aug. 6. Students are given shoes and socks as well as school supplies. The organization has locations in Independence, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove and Buckner.

“CSL has it set up in a very orderly, organized system,” Snapp said.

Shoes also are needed throughout the year, and donations are always being taken. The Community Services League’s website is at

Tennies for Kids, under the auspices of the Coalition of Women Helping Children, has benefited from steady contributions from several local groups, including Kiwanis, the Young Matrons of Independence, the Midtown Optimists, Goppert Financial, Stone Church Community of Christ, Good Shepherd Community of Christ, East Alton Community of Christ, 39th Street Community of Christ, Summit Grove Community of Christ, Christ United Methodist, Northern Boulevard United Methodist and several Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints congregations.

In six years, the program has raised an estimated $100,000.

“That is really outstanding in my mind,” Siegel said.

But the number of children living in tough circumstances presents a large need, and a new pair of shoes addresses one piece of that.

“It gets you,” Siegel said. “You realize that there’s so much that needs to be done.”