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Knoxville Area Urban League supports students with 17th annual ‘Shoes for School’

August 3, 2019

More than 1,500 children receive new shoes and 4,000 receive school supplies

Thousands of local children received new tennis shoes and school supplies Saturday, Aug. 3, during the 17th annual “Shoes for School” event presented by the Knoxville Area Urban League and sponsored by Covenant Health.

The event at Caswell Park coincided with the start of school, which is Monday, Aug. 5, for Knox County students. More than 1,500 children received shoes, and the organization estimates that more than 4,000 picked up school supplies. More than 7,000 total attendees enjoyed the festivities.

Brianna and Tavaris Bogan show off their new shoes during the Knoxville Area Urban League’s Shoes for School 2019.

“Sending kids back to school with new shoes and the supplies that they need for the year is a morale boost for the kids and a financial hardship removed for the parents,” said Phyllis Y. Nichols, president and CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League. “We thank every partner, including Covenant Health – our presenting sponsor for the second year in a row – every volunteer and every person who made this possible. Smiles all around indicate that we’re doing the right thing.”

Gary Young, manager of community outreach for Covenant Health, said, “Part of Covenant Health’s mission is to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve, so we welcome the opportunity to serve local families through ‘Shoes for School.’ The Knoxville Area Urban League executes a fun and engaging event every year, and it’s encouraging to see so many local volunteers and businesses willing to support our students as they head back to school.”

The Knoxville Area Urban League, Covenant Health and other sponsors hosted a festive atmosphere with food, games, inflatables and even free haircuts set up by 34 booth sponsors representing businesses, civic and nonprofit organizations, church groups and others. The event is a community effort that families and volunteers eagerly anticipate each year. Children receiving shoes at the event are pre-registered through non-profit agencies who sign up in-need families. School supplies are available to all children.

“Amazing things can happen when we all do our part,” Nichols said. “The smiles on the faces of children make every moment worth it.”

About the Knoxville Area Urban League
Since 1968, the Knoxville Area Urban League has assisted disadvantaged people attain social and economic stability and self-sufficiency through direct services and advocacy. The League works to provide a skilled and diverse workforce; to increase homeownership; to support economic and small business development, and to enhance education efforts for our youth. The Knoxville Area Urban League is a United Way partner agency and affiliate of the National Urban League. The League’s work and results are evident in the lives of the over 8,000 people it impacts each year. For more information, call 865-524-5511 or visit