River Valley Kickstart Event Set To Help Thousands In Alma

ALMA, Ark. (KFSM) — The Alma Middle School gym is packed with shoes and ready for families to stop by for the River Valley Kickstart Saturday (Aug.10).

Carrie Jernigan, who bought out the Fort Smith Payless shoe store in May, donated all 1,500 shoes to the "Back 2 School" event which was organized in just 16 days.

With many more donations, including a big one from Pastor Lee Denton, more than 2,100 pairs of shoes will be given away to local children and families to get them ready for the new school year.

Hosted by Kibler Baptist Church, the event is free and open to everyone and children must be present.

There will be $40,000 worth of school supplies to take home along with hair cuts, dental and eye screenings and fun for the whole family.

Jernigan says her family's motto is "be nice and kind." She says her daughter is the one who sparked all of this.

"Harper's one act of kindness spurred me into being kind and buying shoes that then has spurred a community," Jernigan said. "The ripple effect of being able to donate for this event, for Staples donating $30,000. So it shows how just one simple act of kindness can have a ripple effect all across the nation."

Tomorrow afternoon will include kindergarten and athletic physicals along with free books, shirts, socks and even underwear.

$35,000 worth of free food cards will be given away as well.

The event was organized with the help of local churches, businesses and volunteers.

It's first come, first serve while supplies last from 2-6 p.m. tomorrow at the Alma Middle School gym.

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