Zappos helps make getting back to school little easier for local families

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By Stephen Thomas

SHEPHERDSVILLE - Some Shepherdsville Elementary students took a confident step into school this year in their new shoes.

Zappos.com’s second annual Back to School Supply Drive featured two pairs of suitable school shoes for 25 Shepherdsville students, along with new backpacks filled with school supplies.

Stefanie Walls, a solutions supervisor with Zappos.com, said employees and customers funded all Supply Drive donations.

“Each customer received a 10 percent discount on a purchase if they brought in school supplies,” Walls said.

The store also displayed shoes that would be donated, allowing customers to purchase them at a special rate.

“We even had an employee that bought a pair of shoes for every student,” Walls said. “Many of our employees have students in (Bullitt County) schools. It made this more personal.”

Last year Zappos.com formed a partnership with the Bullitt County Public Schools Family Resource Centers. Walls praised Shepherdsville FRC coordinator Traci Gould along with the overall FRC program for helping to make the event successful.

“The FRCs serve the schools and they know who to serve,” said Walls. “That takes the whole application process out of our hands.”

Gould said Shepherdsville students were selected based on numerous criteria. She added that Shepherdsville was selected as the primary school for the Zappos.com program based on having the county’s highest free and reduced lunch rate.

Imogene Strothman enjoyed the tour along with her children, third grader Hunter and first grader Brandi. She said the children were very proud of the donations they received.

“It’s very helpful, it helps us out a lot,” said Strothman. “School supplies can be expensive.”

Linda and Joe Rice also appreciated the assistance. Their daughter, second grader Emily, received a pair of dress shoes and tennis shoes, while Jared, a fifth grader, received both a black pair and white pair of sneakers.

“The economy being the way it is, and we also have a 16-year-old, this is such a big help,” Linda said.

The Back to School Supply Drive was approved by the FRC Advisory Board. Walls is a member of the board, consisting of four community members, four parents and four school representatives.

Walls noted that donations would be collected through Aug. 16. Gould said the remaining donations would be distributed equally to every county FRC program.

To make the donations extra special, Shepherdsville students were invited on tours of the Zappos.com warehouse facility.

Walls mentioned that the tours were an opportunity for employees to see smiles from the students receiving the donations.

“Just to see the kids’ faces, they were all so appreciative,” she said. “The employees enjoyed seeing all the kids. This is also our future work force, so we wanted to let them see it all and get interested in working for us in the future.”