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Sandia employeesí tradition of buying shoes for hundreds of school kids most needed this time of year


News media invited to shoe fitting this Thursday morning at Mervynís

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. ó In what has become a 50-year tradition, more than 500 local elementary school students will get new shoes this year during school outings thanks to donations from Sandia National Laboratories employees to the Labís annual Shoes for Kids campaign.

Shoe fittings during school outings to the Mervynís department store at Coronado Center are the heart of the event. At each of several fittings during the year, Sandia volunteers and Mervynís staff fit a group of 25 children with a new pair of shoes.

Albuquerque Public School teachers and staff identify the children most in need. The students arrive at Mervynís in school buses. Each student is fitted with the perfect shoe of his or her choice. Typically the students jump and run in their new shoes after the fittings.

What began in the mid 1950s as a holiday gift exchange between two scientists at Sandia National Laboratories has escalated into a Sandia tradition today involving hundreds of employees. Rather than giving gifts or cards to each other, the scientists began buying new shoes for needy children.

Over the years word spread, and in 1995 Lockheed Martin/Sandia National Laboratories adopted the Shoes for Kids Program as a corporate-sponsored drive. The total amount donated has increased since 1999. Last year Sandia employees and retirees donated over $22,000. Students from 20 area schools will be fitted for shoes this year.

Photo Opportunity: Members of the news media are invited to a Shoes for Kids shoe fitting on Thursday, Dec. 15, 9:45 to 10:45 a.m., in the shoe department at Mervynís at Coronado Center. There will be opportunities to talk with the children and Sandia and Mervynís employees. Mervynís is located in the southeast corner of Coronado Center.

The project is a team effort. The Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union collects the donations, Mervynís provides shoes at discounted prices, Albuquerque Public Schools identifies children in need, and numerous local bus companies provide transportation from the schools to Mervynís.

Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energyís National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.


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