'My heart has been to help people': 600 Durham kids set to get free shoes

ABC11 Together highlights the strength of the human spirit, good deeds, community needs, and how our viewers can help
DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Sherard Johnson, a former teacher at Neal Middle School, is making sure underprivileged children in Durham are ready to put their best foot forward.

"Each year on the first day of school, I would see behavioral issues from different students because they would have low self-esteem and confidence from the clothes they wore and the shoes they wore," Johnson said.

Two years ago, the 30-year-old launched Project 300 through his nonprofit RNS Sports.

He told ABC11 that his idea for the project came from a dream. The vision: Gather community donations and support to provide at least 300 children with a brand new pair of shoes

"All different types, man. Like good shoes. These are not rinky-dink shoes," Johnson said.

The concept has exploded since his first event in August 2019.

Johnson said he waits six days before the event to announce the surprise location on social media.

That's how Asia Mitchell discovered the giveaway.

She was one of the lucky families to get these shoes.

Mitchell is a mother of five, is disabled and lives on a fixed income.

"When I told them we were going to get new shoes for school, they were overjoyed, jumping up and down was excited and waiting for the day to come," Mitchell said. "They were like, thank you!"

The gratitude is a blessing for Johnson, too.

"My heart has been to help people," he said.

So many people showed up last time, Johnson had to turn families away.

But this year he expects he can double his giveaway to 600 pairs of shoes.

People have until Aug. 8 to donate before the location of the shoe giveaway is announced on social media.

"It's amazing and everything to me," said Johnson.

To donate or request information, send an email here or send a direct message by following @RNSSportsNC on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook at RON N Shoot (RNS) Sports Inc.
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