Arkansas family buys out Payless store, donates all shoes

Arkansas

ALMA, Ark. (KNWA) — An Arkansas mother of three visited a closing Payless shoe store looking for inexpensive footwear for her children. She ended up with the store’s entire inventory.

Carrie Jernigan bought every pair of shoes at a location in Alma and plans to donate nearly 1,500 shoes to students before the start of the school year.

Fourth-grader Harper Jernigan of Alma asked her mother, Carrie Jernigan, to buy her classmate Avenger shoes while shopping at a Payless that was going out of business. She said she noticed her friend’s shoes were too small, but she didn’t know what shoe size he wears.

Harper Jernigan

“I’m not going to be able to figure out his size because of the time of the year… so I looked at the clerk jokingly and just asked, “how much for the rest of the shoes in here?” Just joking,” Carrie said.

Jernigan’s joke quickly became a reality for this unstoppable duo, and $21,000 and a huge trailer full of 95 large boxes of 1,500 pairs of shoes ranging from newborn to men’s size 13, Jernigan is ready to help people in need.

Carrie Jernigan

Others in the community are volunteering to help those in need. They’re asking for donations for other needed supplies to so the kids are ready for school. Donations may be made, here. One hundred percent of the funds go toward helping families in need in the River Valley.

Even more, affiliates of churches, and business owners and employees are stepping in and also helping by providing haircuts, eye exams, and school supplies — to name a few.

Jernigan said members of Kibler Baptist Church have also stepped in, and have offered to donate money and time to the cause.

“That’s what it’s all about. In the grand scheme of things in this country, this is one tiny blip, but if it continues to grow –and it just it makes you do one little thing for that student fixing to go back to school — it matters to that one kid,” Jernigan added.

And from the kindness of one person’s heart to the kind of many hearts, River Valley Kickstart was created in a community that has each other’s backs.

River Valley Kickstart is hosting an event between 2-6 p.m. Aug. 10, in the gym at Alma Middle School for anyone in need.

Payless filed for bankruptcy a second time in February and announced it would shutter its 2,100 stores in the United States and Puerto Rico in February. The company continues to sell on Amazon and at its 750 international locations, according to its website.


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