12/07/08 — Community member has heart, puts soles on children's feet

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Community member has heart, puts soles on children's feet

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on December 7, 2008 2:00 AM

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Foster parent Wes Boyd helps 15-month-old Charlotte Boyd try on a pair of shoes Saturday morning at Payless Shoe Source.

For five years Paul Benton has worked to provide shoes to every foster child in Wayne County.

Three years ago, he said, that meant making Christmas a little better for 120 children. Two years ago it was 82.

This year it was 45 children, ages four months to 17 years, picking out about $40 worth of shoes and other accessories -- with the help of the store's buy-one-get-one-half-off sale -- Saturday morning at Payless Shoe Source on Spence Avenue. Each child also received gifts off of their own Christmas wish lists.

And, said Benton, the owner of Chevrolet Cadillac of Goldsboro, while he's pleased to see the number of children in need of help decreasing, he knows the need still exists.

"I don't have any children of my own, so I pay special attention to children I see in the newspaper or hear about," he said. "And we decided this was something we could do to make a Christmas a little nicer and provide them with a basic need.

"It's a great opportunity to pitch in and help, and I'm just hopeful somebody else will see this and say, 'Gosh, they're doing something good, maybe we can, too.'"

The event, said Payless manager Deanna Shook, is something that the store is proud to be able to participate in as they bring in extra inventory and open their doors two hours early for the private sale, which lasted from 8 to 11 a.m.

For foster parents Wes and Marcy Boyd, the annual event is a blessing.

"It really is a big help," Mrs. Boyd said as she helped her foster daughter -- whom they're in the process of adopting -- 15-month-old Charlotte Boyd try on a pair of shoes. "It's just nice to have community support to help us take care of these children.

"When they come to us, they don't come with much."

But, Ms. Shook said, the children aren't the only ones who get something out of the event.

"This is something we enjoy doing. It's very rewarding. This is what Christmas is all about," she said.