Thanks to the 2019 “Boots for Kids” campaign by area Macomb-area REALTORS®, 136 McDonough County elementary school students will get winter boots and four local elementary schools will receive $1,000 each.

The Lamoine Valley REALTORS® Chapter of the Peoria Area Association of REALTORS® (PAAR) raised $6,647.65 this year in its sixth annual “Boots for Kids” program. It’s the latest in the “REALTORS® Give Back in 2019″ series that shows how members of local REALTOR® associations give back to their communities. The amount raised tops last year’s record of $5,382, said Robin Briney, managing broker of Key Realtors in Macomb and the program chair. The program has grown every year.

“Five years ago, we heard that kids without boots weren’t allowed to go outside during recess in the winter, and that a good number of kids were walking to school without boots,” said Briney. “That first year, we collected money and bought boots for the children at one grade school. Since that time, the program has expanded to serve children at other area schools.”

Schools receiving donations this year are West Prairie South Elementary School in Colchester, West Prairie North Elementary School in Good Hope, Bushnell-Prairie City Elementary School and Lincoln School in the Macomb School District.

“The kids are absolutely thrilled to get these boots,” said Jennifer Edholm, principal at the north and south elementary schools in the West Prairie School District. “They’re going to remember this for the rest of their lives. My hope is that when the students are adults, they’ll want to give back, too. It’s a real feel-good movement that the REALTORS® have started.”

Organization and cooperation aid project’s success

Photo of child's boot with sign for "Boots for Kids" campaignREALTORS® from four McDonough County real estate offices work together on the annual project. They use direct mail to remind area business owners about the value of their support. Area stores and restaurants use “Boots for Kids” displays to encourage donations. The Shoe Sensation store in Macomb provides a discount on “Boots for Kids” purchases and helps with in-store fundraising.

“We’ve developed a wonderful partnership with Shoe Sensation,” Briney said. “And the people in McDonough County recognize the boots program and have been very responsive. This year, we were able to purchase 136 pairs of boots and provide each school with a check for $1,000 for additional needs.”

The boots program was successful despite the fact that McDonough County’s major employer, Western Illinois University, laid off more than 100 employees in the spring. “It’s been challenging but we’re very thankful to the community for its support of this project,” said Briney.

(This is the fourth in a series of “REALTORS® Give Back in 2019” stories about the community involvement of Illinois REALTORS® in November and December. If your local association or brokerage has story idea to submit, please complete an online REALTORS® Give Back Form.)