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Kicks 4 Kidz Collecting Shoes for Needy in Sister City of Colima

Good afternoon –

I wanted to share with you some information about a nonprofit organization Kicks 4 Kidz, which is partnering with Redwood City International to hold a shoe drive to collect shoes for underprivileged children in our sister-city of Colima, Mexico. The goal is to collect 500 pairs of shoes, mostly for kids ages 2 – 10, and give them to needy children there. And, the effort is being led as a community services project by Matt Gamez, son of Redwood City’s police chief JR Gamez.

Please read on for the information from an article that was printed in The Spectrum ( and see if you can help!




Police Chief Gamez’s son starts shoe drive for underprivileged kids

By Julie McCoy, contributing writer The Spectrum Magazine

Matt Gamez loves shoes. He also comes from a community service–oriented family. This summer, Gamez, the son of Redwood City Police Chief JR Gamez, will couple his passion for shoes with his desire to do a community service project. The teenager, who launched the nonprofit organization Kicks 4 Kidz, will team with Redwood City International to hold a shoe drive to collect shoes for underprivileged children in Colima, Mexico.

Shoes going to orphans in Redwood City’s sister city
The goal is to collect 500 pairs of new or gently used shoes, Gamez said. Ideally, the shoes should be for kids between the ages of 2 and 10, but there aren’t any age limitations, he stressed. The shoes will be collected this summer and then given to needy children in orphanages in Colima. Gamez said he chose Colima because it’s Redwood City’s sister city. Colima is the capital of the Mexican state with the same name, located in western Mexico on the central Pacific Coast.

Collection now through July
Shoes donated by the community or businesses can be dropped off now at the Sandwich Spot at 2420 Broadway in Redwood City, starting in July at the Redwood City Fire Department’s Station 9 at 755 Marshall St. and at the Blues Festival downtown on Friday, July 27, and Saturday, July 28. Gamez is also asking for donations at Family Community Church in San Jose, which his family attends. Additionally, he is asking for donations from the Gilroy Factory Outlet Stores.

Heading to Mexico in late August
Gamez plans to have the donated shoes shipped to Colima and then, along with others, he will travel there in late August to distribute them. Plans are to invite community members and officials.

A worldwide problem
The project is important given the number of children, especially in developing countries, who go without shoes every day. More than 300 million children worldwide are without shoes, according to Souls4Souls, a Nashville-based charity that collects shoes from the warehouses of footwear companies and people’s closets.

When children don’t have shoes, they can get cuts and sores on their feet. They also are at risk for soil diseases, which can penetrate the skin through bare feet. Wearing shoes can help prevent these diseases and the problems they cause.

Many times children can’t attend school without shoes because shoes are a required part of their uniform. If they don’t have shoes, they don’t go to school. And if they don’t receive an education, they don’t have the opportunity to realize their potential.

A history of giving to Colima
Redwood City has a long tradition of giving back to Colima. In addition to the current shoe drive, Redwood City gave a fire truck to the Colima Fire Department after Colima suffered a severe earthquake in 2003. Redwood City has also donated fire equipment, clothing, and landscape and maintenance equipment to Colima.

How it all got started
Gamez comes from a community-oriented family. His dad, Redwood City’s new police chief, expressed a desire to serve the community when he was sworn in last December. It is now a family activity.

How did Gamez decide to start the shoe drive? He is passionate about basketball and plays basketball and football at Monte Vista Christian School in Watsonville. In the spring, he also plays basketball through the Each One Teach One basketball program. He became interested in shoes over the years and collected them, in part because he’s an athlete and in part because he just happens to love them, he said.

One day he was cleaning out his closet and couldn’t believe how many shoes he had. Gamez — who estimates he has about 40 pairs of shoes — took a picture of all the shoes, and it made him think about those who were less fortunate and didn’t have shoes at all. His sister had done a community service project, and he decided it was time to do one himself and that he could do it with shoes.

Shoe drive supported by Mayor Aguirre
Redwood City Mayor Alicia Aguirre has been supportive of Gamez’s shoe drive. “Half of us don’t have the time or energy to do something that is so small but so huge,” she said. “It’s very, very cool.” Aguirre, who serves on the board of directors of Redwood City International, presented Gamez’s project to the board, which gave its approval. “We’re just gung ho on it,” she said.

An eye-opening experience Gamez’s father is proud of the global impact his son is making and that he’s thinking about other people. “It’s been a good, eye-opening experience for him,” he said. “I just hope he continues as an adult.”

Plans to continue the drive in the future
The plan is indeed to continue the drive in the future, Gamez said. Next year, he would like to do a similar drive with the shoes going to Haiti, which was hit by a devastating earthquake in early 2010. He also wants to hold the drive at whatever college he attends. “As many trips as I can,” he said. More information about Gamez and the shoe drive can be obtained at


The Sandwich Spot 2420 Broadway, Redwood City Currently accepting donations

Redwood City Fire Department (Station 9) 755 Marshall St., Redwood City Will accept donations beginning in July

Redwood City PAL Blues Festival Downtown Redwood City July 27 & 28




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