by Rowan Kavner
Having had the chance to lend a hand to his new community of Los Angeles, Evan Phillips did not hesitate. The day after the Dodgers reliever pitched 1 1/3 innings scoreless in Pittsburgh, he spent Thursday morning at an elementary school in South Central Los Angeles helping distribute shoes to children.
Phillips and his wife, Liz, helped the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation and Shoes That Fit distribute 500 pairs of new athletic shoes to every student at 28th Street Elementary School.
“I remember when I was younger, every time someone from a professional sports team, something like that, when they had an event like that at school, it was a super special day” , said Phillips. “It’s just a special day to see these guys, the joy on their faces. To afford a new pair of shoes, there really is nothing better.
Shoes That Fit is a national non-profit organization based in Claremont, Calif., that tackles one of the most visible signs of poverty in America by giving children in need new athletic shoes so that they can go to school with dignity and joy. Named California Nonprofit of the Year, Shoes That Fit delivered new athletic shoes to more than 127,000 kids in 50 states last year alone.
“The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation believes that shoes can increase athletic ability, shoes can increase academic achievement, and frankly, they give kids the chance to come to school,” said LADF CEO Nichol Whiteman. . “At the end of the day, there are families whose children wear shoes that are too small for them, and they have to choose between shoes and putting food on the table. We want to help alleviate that.
LADF has partnered with Shoes That Fit since 2019, when LADF funded a co-branded trailer to help Shoes That Fit reach more kids, speed up deliveries, and ensure shoes get to kids and nonprofits. lucrative who need it most.
Last August, the same month Phillips joined the team, LADF teamed up with Dodgers wives for an “auction of spouses’ favorite things.” Thanks to the support of Dodger fans, $20,000 was raised to support Shoes That Fit.
At 28th Street Elementary, shoes were provided to the entire student body on Thursday after the children were pre-fitted. Additionally, Whiteman announced that every student at the school will have the chance to attend a Dodgers game this season.
“In the wake of the pandemic and the tragic explosion that took place on the streets adjacent to this school last year, this was an opportunity for us to do something truly special for 28th Street Elementary – for the staff, for the students, for the principal — to really light up the rest of their year,” Whiteman said.
Children at 28th Street Elementary School had been through a lot since last June, when the Whiteman explosion referenced damaged structures, injuring 17 people and impacting nearby areas. She said there were families and students at the school still dealing with the trauma and ramifications of this event.
“We want to be able to support communities and provide essentials to families who need them most,” Whiteman said.