SANTA ANA, Calif. – DaVita Inc. (NYSE: DVA), a leading provider of kidney care services that is committed to improving the quality of life for those diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (CKD), announced today that California teammates (employees) outfitted 1,030 students at Lincoln Elementary School with a new pair of athletic shoes and socks today through the charity “Shoes that Fit.” Shoes that Fit strives to provide well-fitting athletic shoes to underserved children throughout the U.S.
When Jill Calhoun met with Lincoln Elementary Assistant Principal Michael Baker in early March, she and her DaVita® teammates planned to donate up to 200 pairs of athletic shoes before spring break for underserved kids in Santa Ana.
Baker seemed grateful but also burdened when asked who the neediest students were that would receive the shoes. He told Calhoun that Lincoln Elementary has 1,030 students, and 92 percent receive free or reduced-cost lunches. Nearly 100 are homeless. He had no idea how he would choose which children would receive new shoes.
“I couldn’t stop thinking about those 1,030 kids and the 900 that wouldn’t get a new pair of shoes. I lost sleep over it,” Calhoun said. “I talked to my teammates at DaVita, and they all said what I was hoping they would say – ‘We can do this.’”
Calhoun emailed Baker to let him know DaVita would adopt the entire school for Shoes That Fit and provide 1,030 pairs of athletic shoes within a few weeks – in time for the school’s spring break.
At Lincoln Elementary, the rush was on to get thousands of little feet measured. After just a few days, Calhoun received nearly 70 pages of the sizes needed at Lincoln.
“We knew we needed help to get there, so we sent out a call throughout DaVita,” Calhoun said. “There are shoes here from all over California and as far away as
Denver. Our teammates really rallied for these kids.”
Within two weeks, 1,030 pairs of shoes had been pledged or donated by DaVita teammates for delivery Thursday.
“Thousands of children can’t attend school in comfort or dignity because their feet hurt,” said Roni Lomeli, executive director of Shoes That Fit. “Today, because of this wonderful partnership with DaVita , we are able to donate shoes to all of the children at Lincoln Elementary”
“It’s amazing how the people at DaVita can make miracles happen for our deserving students in such a short time,” said Baker. “I truly appreciate all their dedication, hard work, and generosity on behalf of Lincoln Scholars.”
Students in grades K-5 laughed and cheered Thursday as they donned their new shoes. For these children at Lincoln Elementary School, it was an excellent start to spring break.
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About Shoes That Fit
This month, Shoes That Fit celebrates the delivery of its one-millionth pair of shoes.
The organization takes a simple, grassroots approach to the problem of ill-fitting shoes. A massive network of more than 300 volunteer “Foot Soldiers” from local sponsors are matched with nearby schools that have children in need. School staff identify students, and measure their feet. Foot Soldiers and their cohorts then buy the shoes to deliver them to the school. A sponsor can be any group of people including a business, school, church, civic organization or simply a group of caring friends. For more information go to www.shoesthatfit.org.
DaVita Inc., a Fortune 500® company, is a leading provider of kidney care in the United States, delivering dialysis services to patients with chronic kidney failure and end stage renal disease. DaVita strives to improve patients’ quality of life by innovating clinical care, and by offering integrated treatment plans, personalized care teams and convenient health-management services. As of Dec. 31, 2011, DaVita operated or provided administrative services at 1,809 dialysis facilities in the United States, serving approximately 142,000 patients. The company also operated 11 outpatient dialysis centers located in three countries outside the United States. DaVita supports numerous programs dedicated to creating positive, sustainable change in communities around the world. The company’s leadership development initiatives and social responsibility efforts have been recognized by Fortune, Modern Healthcare, Newsweek and WorldBlu. For more information, please visit www.davita.com.