As department stores across the country are promoting back-to-school-sale frenzies, Carson City's Payless Shoe Source is holding its own kind of sale.
Anyone who buys a pair of shoes for a homeless child will receive a 10 percent discount, even off a sale price.
"With our prices, it makes it easy for people to come in and donate," said store manage Autumn Smith. "It's not going to break the bank and the shoes are designed by some of the top podiatrists in the country."
Smith took over as manager more than three years ago and quickly agreed to help Kim Riggs, homeless advocate for the Carson City School District, provide shoes for all students in need.
"I love kids," Smith said. "I have two of my own and I couldn't imagine if I couldn't afford shoes for them. It would just kill me."
Riggs said Smith's dedication to the project has helped bolster the services provided to children living in motels, campgrounds or with grandparents.
"It's phenomenal," Riggs said. "She does so much to bring in new shoes, I really don't even have to do anything anymore."
But Smith is reluctant to take all the credit, giving it instead to customers.
"I had one couple who came in and were going on vacation," she said. "They were scared they were going to miss the drive and wanted to buy some shoes."
The sizes most needed this year are women's size 4-1/2 to 8-1/2 and men's 7 to 12. And Smith said associates are willing to help determine which shoes are best for a child's age.
"If people aren't sure what's hip or what's in, they should ask us," she said. "It's really important for kids to be wearing what's popular. It's crucial for them to be in fashion."
People wanting to donate should tell the salesperson, then leave the shoes at the store where they will be kept until enough are donated to take to the Clothes Closet, a storage of new and used school supplies and clothes for homeless students.
KBUL radio station is also organizing a school supply drive Saturday from 2:30 to 6 p.m. in front of the Sprint store to benefit the homeless program.
YOU CAN HELP
To donate a pair of shoes to a homeless child, purchase them at Payless Shoe Source, 4201 S. Carson St.
To donate school supplies, drop them off in front of the Sprint store, 3817 S. Carson St., from 2:30 to 6 p.m. Saturday.