IMPD gives away 900 pairs of shoes to families in need

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Hundreds of central Indiana families will have happy feet starting Thanksgiving weekend thanks to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. IMPD kicked off a campaign to give away about 900 pairs of top name brand shoes to families in need.

IMPD assigned Metro Officer Christopher Faulds Friday morning to help organize the first of several giveaways at The Salvation Army Woman and Children's Center in downtown Indianapolis.

Faulds helped find the right size baby shoe for seven-month-old Bella Blair. Her mother, Johanna Blair, picked out a pair of baby Jordans by Nike with the officers help.

"He showed me sizes and different styles and helped me try them on her," said Johanna Blair.

Several years ago, the 900 or so pairs of shoes were confiscated during an undercover investigation along with hundreds of counterfeit shoes marked with name brands.

IMPD Detective Michael Hewitt started working on how to make sure the shoes that are genuine were put to good use. Hewitt has a passion for helping people throughout the metro area served by the police department.

"A judge signed off on the manufacturer donating the authentic shoes to the police department for distribution. This week families in transition at the Salvation Army's Women and children's Center are getting first dibs," he said.

"It is a domestic violence shelter so there are a lot of victims that come to this shelter," said Officer Faulds, "and this is a great way for us to help those people."

Several mothers went the cafeteria turned into a temporary shoe warehouse where Faulds and Salvation Army shelter workers and volunteers stacked the shoes on tables by size.

Urban Mbuyi, 17, entered the cafeteria not knowing exactly what to expect. But within minutes Officer Faulds was helping him find the right size and color. The 17-year-old picked out a pair of red and white Nikes with a giant Swoosh on the side for shoe.

Urban Mbuyi said, "This is a good color for me. I like them. They fit good and thank you."

"If there is anything we can do to spread a little happiness and joy this is what we really want to do," said Officer Christopher Faulds.

The holiday season is usually a tough time for families depending on shelters. IMPD hopes to give other families scheduled to return to the shelter this week after the Thanksgiving Holiday the same opportunity to shop for a pair of brand name shoes they may have not otherwise have in their budget to buy.