A Seminole County woman is helping the largest of young athletes and their families with a need that’s probably not at the top of people’s donation list.
- Woman helps find shoes for young athletes with big feet
- Renee Armstrong started Big Shoes & Cleats for Teen Athletes
- Armstrong donates new, gently used shoes to kids in need
Renee Armstrong started up Big Shoes & Cleats for Teen Athletes, Inc. about a year ago.
Armstrong spends a lot of time looking for the next best pair of shoes. She shops online, in discount stores and accepts donations, even some shoes from the Miami Dolphins.
“They may not participate at all but could be gifted athletes, but won’t participate at all because number one, they don’t have any athletic shoes and number two — they don’t have any athletic shoes that fit,” said Armstrong.
Armstrong constantly stays in constant contact with coaches, athletic directors and parents. She rolls her cart of shoe boxes from school to school, delivering donated shoes to kids who need them.
Most of the shoes are new. Others are gently used. But the shoes are never shabby, including some of the newest editions from today’s most popular sports stores.
They are shoes teens can show off at school, but would normally be too expensive for them or their parents to normally buy.
“It helps out the struggling moms, especially the single parents who struggle with everyday expenses,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong would know: She raised two daughters on her own. When they grew up and she retired, she wanted to fill a need.
“What area can I go in where I can give to students and I thought hmmm, what about the kids with really big feet because my son-in-law has really big feet,” said Armstrong.
Her son-in-law is Barry Cofield. Cofield played in the NFL and now runs D1 - an athletic training center in Lake Mary, where Armstrong meets many young athletes who need a good pair of kicks. She focuses on finding shoes for kids who need size 12 and up.
“It’s kind of unique to have a gift of a really large shoe because people might not even think of the kids that have really, really big feet,” said Armstrong.
She often doesn’t even meet the kids she helps. But she says she usually hears from their parents.
“There was one mom, it was just so touching, she said ‘you just don’t know how much this helps’ and I said this is why I do it — for people like you,” said Armstrong.
Renee Armstrong is holding a shoe drive on Saturday, Nov. 11.
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