Students, marching bands get socks, shoes from drum corps

In an effort to spread their message of hope, Carolina Crown partnered with local nonprofit groups to help more than 1,000 kids in Winston-Salem put their best feet forward.
With United Way of Forsyth County, Love Out Loud WS and Samaritan’s Feet, students from Kimberley Park and Easton elementary schools and Ashley Academy received new socks, shoes and school supplies.
Amber Baker, principal at Kimberley Park, said it means a lot to her students and their families to receive community support.
“We take a holistic approach to meeting the needs of our children,” she said. “This was a great way to get volunteers into our school and to show them something different about what they think they know about black people and for our parents to know that there are others out there who care.”
Students in the marching bands at Carver, North Forsyth and Parkland high schools also will receive marching-band shoes from Director’s Showcase International, a distributor of band attire.
Avery Payne and Juan Eckard, marching band directors of North Forsyth and Carver respectively, said their programs will benefit greatly from the donation.
“This really keeps costs low,” Payne said. “Students who would’ve been excluded can now get shoes and participate.”
Payne said he has about 40 marchers receiving shoes.
Eckard said he has 60 students in his marching band, including color guard and dancers.
“It’s going to be really helpful with the cost of band fees,” Eckard said. “The school system provides uniforms and instruments but everything else costs.”
Eckard said band fees for a new marching band member could be around $120. The shoes could reduce that by about $40, he said.
Carolina Crown, an international drum and bugle corps, is comprised of about 150 young people who aspire to be music educators, performing artists and the leaders of tomorrow, the group said. The organization’s mission is to develop lifelong excellence in young people.
As a part of that mission, corps members participate in the service arm of the organization, Crown Cares. Because Carolina Crown is hosting an event, NightBEAT in Winston-Salem today, the members wanted to do something charitable for the city’s youth.
Eric Aft, chief operating officer of United Way of Forsyth County, said partnering for this event was a natural fit for United Way.
“We’re always focused on helping children succeed in school,” Aft said. “Having kids come to school with a new pair of shoes and school supplies expands on that and allows us to work with families in the start of the school year.”
The event also included volunteers from Samaritan’s Feet and the community, washing the children’s feet before giving them new socks and shoes, as part of the organization’s mission to give away 10 million pairs of shoes worldwide.
Sgt. Rhoneek Readus with the Winston-Salem Police Department was one of those volunteers.
“This is the side of town I work on, so when I was asked to do this, if knew it was a great thing to do for the young people,” he said. “It may be something I forget, but, for them, it’s something that they’ll remember for a lifetime.”

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