Play Connects: Bringing Basic Items to Cleveland-Area Families Served by Shoes & Clothes for Kids

July 9, 2013 |The Toy Industry Foundation’s (TIF) Play Connects program invites Toy Industry Association (TIA) member companies to nominate charities in their own communities to receive TIF grant funding. In 2012, four nominated charities were selected to receive up to $10,000 each to help low income, disabled and at-risk children across the country. Over the course of the summer, Toy News Tuesday is profiling the charities that received grants last year to showcase how the funds are making an important difference in children’s lives.

Nominated by TIA member Good Marketing, Inc., Shoes & Clothes for Kids (SC4K) was among four charities to receive a Play Connects grant of $10,000 last year in support of efforts to provide new shoes, clothing and other items for youth and infants living in impoverished families in the Greater Cleveland-area. Serving 25,000 children each year, SC4K is the only non-profit of its kind in the city, also acting as a change agent by providing food, GED education programs, daycare, after-school programs, and more to families in need.

SC4K is currently using its Play Connects grant to provide new items for nearly 1,200 children who would have otherwise gone without basic necessities including shoes, coats, jeans, pants, skirts, shorts, polo shirts, dress shirts, t-shirts, underwear, socks, and other essential items.

“We believe that these everyday necessities bring a sense of confidence to children, which is paramount to a child's success in school and in life,” said Executive Director Valerie McCormack. “Without SC4K, and supporters like the Toy Industry Foundation, some children would wear worn-out, ill-fitting shoes wrapped with duct tape, the same shirt every day, clothes with stains and holes or be without appropriate outerwear to stay warm and dry, resulting in absenteeism and the inability to participate in school activities designed to help them grow, learn and play.”

With many families still struggling to recover from the economic downturn, request for SC4K services has increased. The Play Connects grant has helped the charity keep pace with the needs of the local community that it serves.

For more information, visit the Play Connects page on the TIF website, or contact Foundation Manager Marisa Medina (646.454.5581). Grant recipients for 2013 will be announced this fall.