180630_life_solesforchristimage (copy)

AFL-CIO said it plans to work with local schools to provide shoes after the event was canceled.

The Soles for Christ program that provides more than 1,000 pairs of shoes for kids in need has been called off due to COVID-19 issues.

The giveaway, which was set for Sept. 21 to 24 at the Civic Arena, was canceled because of health concerns and a lack of volunteers, according to officials from the AFL-CIO, which oversees the annual program.

“We were hoping that time would mean a decrease in local COVID cases,” said Executive Director Penny Adams. “Unfortunately, numbers seem to be increasing and our volunteer numbers reflect the hesitation many in the community are feeling about this type of interaction. The lack of volunteers is one main hurdle we cannot overcome.”

Adams said her agency plans to work directly with local school officials to provide shoes for individuals with an immediate need.

“We would love to get the shoes to those who need them, but the risk of exposing families and volunteers to a potential outbreak is just too great,” Adams said. “The lack of volunteers is a strong indication of the current attitudes toward this type of interaction and we would be irresponsible to not take it seriously.”

For information on Soles for Christ, call the AFL-CIO office at 816-364-1131.

Ryan Hennessy can be reached at ryan.hennessy@newspressnow.com. Follow him on twitter: @NPNowHennessy.