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Fargo Marathon shoe drive ships 1,000 pairs to area schools

Mark Knutson and Fargo Marathon Committee members sort out shoes Monday evening that will be delivered to needy kids at area schools. David Samson / The Forum

WEST FARGO – Some elementary students at Fargo, West Fargo and Moorhead will start the school year with new shoes thanks to the Fargo Marathon.

This is the third year the nonprofit that runs the annual marathon has organized the Shoes for Kids drive.

“We live in a fairly well-to-do community, but it’s amazing how many kids out there still need good shoes,” said Fargo Marathon Executive Director Mark Knutson.

Marathon organizers worked with the Dakota Medical Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota to raise money to buy 1,500 new pairs of Nike shoes.

Knutson said Nike works with the marathon to reduce the price of the shoes from $70 to just more than $20 per pair.

One thousand shoes will be delivered to area elementary schools now. They were packed up and delivered Monday night by a team of volunteers at the Go Far Events office in West Fargo.

Another 400 to 500 pairs will be available later in the school year because school officials often ask if there are any left in January and February.

Some of the support for the drive comes from Fargo Marathon registration fees. One dollar of each registration fee goes toward Shoes for Kids, Knutson said.

The shoe drive raised about $32,000 this year. 

Fargo’s Madison Elementary School Principal Bob Olson said the school received about 30 pairs of shoes the past two years. Teachers hand them out to students when staff members notice a need.

“Sometimes shoes are in bad enough condition they can’t participate in activities,” Olson said.

Olson said they don’t hand out shoes every day.

“When we do, though, the kids are pretty excited,” he said. “They’re sitting there looking at their brand new pair of shoes, and they’re excited as can be.”

The additional shoes that will be handed out later in the school year is welcome news for the principal, who said they always run out of certain sizes but still have kids in need.

Knutson said they receive a lot of gratitude from parents, students and the schools in the form of pictures and letters.