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The beginning and history of Kickin’ for Kids shoe campaign traces back to co-founder, Dianne Henry, who in 1986 owned and operated child day care centers—Back Yard Bears, in the Tampa Bay area.  Since then her facilities have become Pre-K qualified Day Schools and operations remain at the Habana Avenue, Tampa location.

As the managing owner, Dianne noticed that several children that came to her care centers, came with poor fitting shoes and some with no shoes at all. The children were unhappy and their feet hurt. Dianne saw the need and began to ask the members of the Krewe of Alegria to contribute a pair of new shoes at their annual Holiday party in December of each year calling it “Kickin’ for Kids”.  The collections were not huge but they did help several children in need.

By 2004, the Krewe of Alegria had grown in membership and the interest in helping children grew as well. The Krewe of Alegria now had enough membership volunteers to staff several fund raising events. Shoe drives are conducted several times during the year - back-to-school, holiday season, and springtime - where both in-kind new shoe donations are collected as well as monetary support.

Over the years Krewe of Alegria has distributed over 5,000 pairs of new shoes through its "Kickin’ for Kids" shoe campaign. We are pleased to have reached so many children and truly grateful to the many supporters in Tampa Bay.

Some of the community and charitable organizations that have been recipients of new shoes include:

A Kid's Place

Belmont Heights Boys & Girls Club

Children's Home Network

Church organizations

Clothes To Kids - Tampa, St. Pete

Cornerstone Kids

Crossover Childrens Ministry

Florida Blue Kids Running Program

Florida Sheriff Youth Ranch

Guardian ad Litem

Hillsborough and Pinellas County Public Schools

Hispanic Services Council

I Matter Too

Jackson Education Foundation

Lighthouse Farm Workers Ministry

Lopez ESE, Plant City

Love Has No Borders, Tampa

Mary Lee's House

Metropolitan Ministries

Oasis Network

Positively U

Safety Harbor Community Center/Mattie Williams

Salesian Boys & Girls Club of Tampa

The HOPE Marathon Runners Program

The Spring

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