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Nampa Nonprofit Helps Children Around the World With The Shoe That Grows

Nampa Nonprofit Helps Children Around the World With The Shoe That Grows

NAMPA, Idaho ā€” Buying a new pair of shoes seems like a common occurrence for most Americans, but many kids in other countries don’t own a single pair. The Nampa-native behind the non-profit Because International wants to change that.

Founder Kenton Lee traveled to Kenya after college and learned many children there would either go barefoot or cut their shoes off to make room for their growing toes. So they got the idea: What if there was a shoe that could grow with them?

“It opened my eyes to this issue of kids either having no shoes or having shoes that are too small because they can’t afford another pair,” Lee said.

That was 15 years ago. Now, because international Production of the shoe that grows, It’s an innovative design that has evolved over the years to grow into five sizes, expanding across the front, back and sides. Their options cover anyone from children’s to a men’s size 12.

Photo courtesy Because International

“There’s velcro on the sides that kids can really easily move around on their feet,” said director Kayla Hetherington. “We can make sure that when children are being fitted for a shoe it is fitting them to their exact size at that moment and after that it can continue to grow.”

Hetherington has been with the organization for seven years, driven by their mission to make a difference.

“Who did I really believe [Kenton] was doing and what it could do,” Hetherington said. “Not only with the shoes, but in the communities where they’re distributed, and that’s something I really wanted to be a part of.”

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Photo courtesy Because International

The shoes are actually manufactured in Kenya, creating local jobs, but Lee says the organization is only successful thanks to the support Treasure Valley supports.

ā€œIn the early days, we approached several shoe companies ā€“ the big companies ā€“ to see if they could help us; and they all said no. But Nampa and Treasure Valley supported us 100% in those early days. supported,” Lee said. “Local people would come and help us, whether it was through fundraising or volunteering. If it wasn’t for Nampa and Treasure Valley, we wouldn’t be here.”

Monday, January 23rd is actually National Measure Your Feet Day, highlighting the importance of making sure people are maintaining the health of their feet. According to the organization, “one of the suggested steps is to check that your shoes match the size of your feet, as wearing shoes that are too small/tight can lead to long-term health problems.”

Over the past seven years, they have distributed nearly 400,000 pairs of babies in over 100 countries.

You can help their mission with a recurring monthly donation through their program, complete, This helps provide shoes to a dozen children a year.

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