For Hometown News
ST. LUCIE COUNTY -
Seacoast National Bank, St. Lucie County branches, are partnering with the St. Lucie County Fire District in raising funds for the Lil' Feet program, a community effort to give shoes to children as they start the new school year.
The program raises funds through an auction of hand-painted fire boots by local artists. This year, 15 local artists have collaborated to paint 13 fire boots, 11 of which will be auctioned off.
"This is the third year the fire district has sponsored the program and Seacoast National Bank has proudly supported it from the very beginning," said Terri Sloan-Bartz, the bank's senior vice president, regional manager.
This year, the goal is to raise enough funds to purchase 500 pairs of shoes for children. Since more than 600 children have been identified for the program though the Early Learning Coalition and Healthy Families, children will be selected through a lottery.
Children ages 2 to 6 are eligible for the program. Siblings will be accommodated up to 8 years of age.
"The program was initiated in 2009 when one of the fire station crews responded to a fire alarm at a child care center," said Catherine W. Chaney, public information officer for the St. Lucie County Fire District.
"The alarm was false, but while there, a firefighter noticed kids had old shoes, some so worn their toes were sticking out. He went back later that day with new shoes and socks for one of the children, but that experience led him to think about what more we could do. The idea became the Lil' Feet program."
The boots will be auctioned off at a dinner event on Aug. 21 in downtown Fort Pierce. Tickets are $45 per person and can be purchased through the fire district. For more information, visit www.SeacoastNational.com.