First Day Shoe Fund Welcomes Leatrice Fullerton & Ann Austin to Board of Directors

This January’s Board of Directors meeting was the first for two exciting new additions, Ann Austin and Leatrice Fullerton. First Day Shoe Fund is proud to welcome two of its active volunteers to our leadership team.

After many years of volunteering with First Day Shoe Fund, Ann Austin joined the board in January 2018.  She currently serves on the Program Committee and is a shoe buyer.  A University of Michigan graduate, Ann enjoys spending time with family, reading and traveling.

Leatrice Fullerton is currently a Program Manager with Disability Network Southwest Michigan. She began working with First Day Shoe Fund during the summer of 2017, serving on the Program Committee. When she isn’t working, she enjoys reading, spending time with family, and giving back to the community.

Thank you Ann and Leatrice for stepping up to serve Kalamazoo County!

You can learn more about our volunteer team of leaders on the board of directors by clicking here.

Dine at Latitude 42 on 12/5/17 to benefit First Day Shoe Fund!

On Tuesday, December 5th we have two great events on one busy night! Latitude 42 will donate 20% of all food sales between 5:00-8:00. Come get some great food and support First Day Shoe Fund while you eat. Thank you to our hosts at Latitude 42!

We have also been nominated as one of three finalists in the United Way of Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region’s Pop-Up Giving event from 5:00 – 7:00 PM that evening. See our post here for details.

Latitude 42 is located at 7842 Portage Rd., and is family-friendly. Latitude 42 has also committed to donate $1 for each slice of cheesecake sold in the month of December. Who can turn down guilt-free cheesecake? You can RSVP and invite your friends to our Facebook event by clicking here.

Latitude 42

Located at 7842 Portage Rd.

First Day Shoe Fund provides new athletic shoes to school-age children in Kalamazoo County who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. We believe that all children should start school on equal footing. Last year we distributed 4,411 pairs of shoes locally!

Pop-Up Giving by United Way on Tuesday, 12/5/17

First Day Shoe Fund is honored to be one of 3 finalists at Pop Up Giving for Basic Needs along with great organizations Food Bank of South Central Michigan and Kalamazoo Drop-In Child Care Center. Please come out and support us on Tuesday, December 5th from 5:00 – 7:00 PM at Sprinkle Road Tap House. Your $20 registration gets you one vote to direct the night’s proceeds to a worthy cause. Register in advance here:
Thank you!



Your entire $20 donation will be pooled to create a pot.

Eat Drink & Be Merry

Enjoy tasty bites, have a drink on us and be social.

Learn & Listen

Hear pitches from three local nonprofits.


You decide who gets the pot.


Feel great about the impact you made in just 60 minutes.

Sign up in advance to reserve your spot:

Questions? Email or

Fall 2017 Newsletter

Another school year is under way, and with it our fall newsletter. Inside you will find:

  • Summer Distribution round-up – a summary of what we accomplished together and a thank you to our volunteers and partners!
  • Exciting new partnerships with South County Community Services/Generous Hands Inc., Bombas & Laborers Local 355
  • A Note From The Executive Director
  • Many Thanks to people and organizations who have helped First Day Shoe Fund in recent month

Check it out here: Fall 2017 FDSF Newsletter

Fall 2017 Newsletter Cover

Bombas Donates 5,000 Pairs of Socks to First Day Shoe Fund

Bombas, a sock manufacturer who donates one pair of socks for each pair sold, generously donated 5,000 pairs of socks to First Day Shoe Fund to be distributed to children in Kalamazoo! This will enable every student who receives new shoes through our program this fall to receive a brand new pair of colorful, stylish socks as well. Thank you Bombas for your incredible gift.

Our summer distribution program has allowed us to begin distributing socks to children preparing to go back to school with new, stylish socks to match their new shoes:

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2017 KPS Summer School Shoe Distribution

From July 24-27 First Day Shoe Fund was fortunate to be a guest of the Kalamazoo Public Schools summer school programs at King-Westwood and Milwood Elementaries. We thank Kalamazoo Public Schools for their partnership in this annual summer program, from the hard work of faculty, staff and administrators to the use of school grounds to reach children in need of shoes. Check out the photo slideshow below to see First Day Shoe Fund volunteers at work with local students (photo credit Fran Dwight):

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Together with an amazing group of dedicated volunteers we were able to fit brand new athletic shoes on the feet of 377 students at King-Westwood and 355 students at Milwood. They will have brand new shoes when the first day of school arrives! More KPS students will have the opportunity to receive shoes at our KPS Community Shoe Distribution & Resource Fair on Wednesday, August 9th.

Over 100 volunteer shifts were completed to serve 732 children over the course of just four days. Thank you to all of our volunteers who participated in summer school this year, including groups from:

  • Advia Credit Union
  • Families of WMU Football Coaches
  • First Day Shoe Fund Board of Directors
  • Flowserve
  • Fran Dwight Photography
  • Kalamazoo Public Schools
  • Raymond James Financial
  • Stryker Medical
  • Stryker Instruments
  • United Party & Event Services
  • West Michigan Laborers Local 355
  • And many more dedicated individuals!

Fitting shoes on happy kids can work up quite an appetite, so we keep our volunteers fed. Thank you to Dr. Terina Harvey and Linda Pfarr of Kalamazoo Public Schools for coordinating food donations from the following:

  • Big Apple Bagels
  • D&W Fresh Market
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Erbelli’s Gourmet Pizzeria
  • Gordon Food Service
  • Harding’s Supermarket
  • Hungry Howie’s Pizza
  • Meijer
  • Papa John’s
  • Pepsi
  • Pizza Hut/Trigo Hospitality
  • Tim Horton’s
  • WalMart

Thank you to all supporters of First Day Shoe Fund for making summer programming possible. We look forward to serving even more children this fall!

2017 KPS Community Shoe Distribution – Wednesday, August 9th

First Day Shoe Fund
Community Distribution 2017

2017 Community Distribution Poster

Your child qualifies for FREE athletic shoes if all 4 apply:

– Attends Kalamazoo Public Schools
Pre-Kindergarten to 5th Grade
– Qualifies for Free or Reduced-Price Lunch at School

  • Did not receive shoes during summer school

    Shoe Pick-Up Place and Time:
        Maple Street Magnet Middle School
    922 West Maple Street ~ Kalamazoo ~
    Maple St. Entrance please
    ** Wednesday, August 9th
    2:30 PM – 8:00 PM
  • Your child must be there to be fitted for shoes• Questions? 269-271-5527 | |

Spring 2017 Newsletter & 2016 Annual Report

First Day Shoe Fund Elects Leadership at Annual Meeting

At First Day Shoe Fund’s Annual Meeting on February 22nd, 2017 we reviewed the accomplishments of First Day Shoe Fund and its partners in 2016. We also looked ahead to the coming years. With her term of office expiring, President Ann Gunia elected to retire from the board of directors after serving since 2010. Board member Jud Hoff was elected to serve as President for the next two years.

Ann, a retired Child Day Care Licensing Consultant for the State of Michigan, served as First Day Shoe Fund’s Volunteer Coordinator for 3 years before joining the board and is one of First Day Shoe Fund’s longest running volunteers and supporters. Ann has also chaired the Program Committee and been a big part of our shoe purchasing program. She will be missed on the board but we look forward to seeing her at future events with all of you!

Jud retired from Stryker Corporation in 2016, where he was Global Vice President of Commercial Operations. Jud became involved with First Day Shoe Fund in 2012 when he met founder Valerie Denghel at a Stryker Community Fair, and joined the board soon after. Jud has chaired the Human Relations Committee and helped with cultivating support from the business community. In addition to his work with the FDSF, Jud is also a board member for two private medical device companies and a co-owner of Next Level Performance.

At the Annual Meeting Angie Rohrer was also re-elected to another two year term as Vice President of First Day Shoe Fund and Board Member Aura Provancher was re-elected to another three year term on the board of directors. We look forward to continued success working together with all of our volunteer board & committee members, community partners, program volunteers and donors!

You can read more about the volunteer board of directors who lead First Day Shoe Fund here.