SIOUX CITY | For 75 years, the Goodwill of the Great Plains’ annual Shoe and Mitten Party has become as much of a part of the holidays as lighting the Christmas tree.
“It’s a real tradition,” said CEO John Hantla. “It’s a signature program to our Goodwill.”
The 75th annual Shoe and Mitten Party will start at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Goodwill cafeteria, 3100 W. Fourth St. This year, more than 1,000 children ages five through 11 in the Sioux City area will receive shoes, socks, hats and mittens.
The recipients have been identified as children in need in a collaborative effort between Goodwill and local social service agencies.
The event isn’t limited to metro Sioux City. Goodwill of the Great Plains will host multiple Shoe and Mitten parties in Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota and Nebraska. In total, more than 3,000 children will receive the warm winter clothing.
Hantla said his favorite part about the three-quarter century old tradition is not just helping those in need, it’s a community bonding together to spread holiday cheer throughout the area.
“It’s a unique thing for us, because it allows us to bring together and children for Christmas,” he said.
Volunteers will gather at the Shoe and Mitten Parties to provide children with the items. Hantla said the volunteers are special to the cause, because many of them were once children receiving hats and gloves at the parties.
“I can tell you that a lot of people that are volunteers, they may have gotten shoes when they were kids,” he said. “This is their opportunity to give back.
There’s a lot of emotional feelings and a lot of personal stories here,” he added.