Colts & Lids put shoes and smiles on IPS children

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Children at IPS School 57 went home Tuesday with a bag full of goodies and a story to tell about a visit from the Colts.

The Colts teamed up with Lids Sports Group for the ninth straight year for an event called "Cold Feet, Warm Shoes and Hats." All 275 students received shoes, socks, a t-shirt and other items. The holiday free shopping spree was set up in the school gymnasium.

"Once they get in there and they realize all this stuff is there for them, they get excited,' said Colts long snapper Matt Overton, who also took part in the giveaway. They literally get to fill a bag full of stuff and take it home, so I think it's really awesome."

Overton was joined by six Colts linebacker teammates: Jerrell Freeman, Kavell Conner, Justin Hickman, Josh McNary, Bjoern Werner, and Cam Johnson.

"I didn't know what to expect," said Freeman, sporting stitches under his lower lip from a cut suffered in Sunday's win over the Titans. "This is my first time doing this. Coming in here and seeing this excitement, seeing the smiles on the kids' faces, this is a really great event."

Second-grader Haley McConnell couldn't wait to get home and show her dad her new size 13 pink and black sneakers. 

"It makes me feel happy," said McConnell as she looked at her shoes.

More than 100 Lids Sports Group employees outfitted the entire school with new shoes in about an hour and a half.

"The most important thing is to put smiles on kids' faces,' said Lids Sports Group President Ken Kocher. "Who wouldn't want to come out here and meet some Indianapolis Colts? Whether the kids know them or not, they go home and talk to their dad and say, 'I met a Colt today'. That's pretty special."

Each Tuesday, on their only day off, a few Colts players take part in events that give back to the community. The team returns to practice Wednesday to prepare for Sunday's game in Cincinnati at 1:00 p.m. A Colts win will clinch the AFC South division title and ensure a playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium.