Shoe drive helps students start off running

By Kristi Bare

Wilkinson Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming the lives of Dallas families by providing them pathways to self-sufficiency, announces the 37th annual Carlin Morris Back-to-School Drive.

Proper shoes let kids run free at recess, participate in sports and engage with their peers shame-free.
Photo courtesy of The Wilkinson Center


There’s nothing like back-to-school season: the anticipation of new classes and teachers, the eagerness to see friends after the long summer break and brand-new school supplies ready to be utilized. But while the start of a new school year is an exciting time for most families, many parents struggle to provide basic school necessities for their children. Necessities as simple as proper fitting shoes.

“Without a good pair of shoes, kids feel embarrassed, discouraged or left out simply because they lack something most of us take for granted,” remarked 2023 co-chair Caitlin Hyatt. “New shoes do more than you can imagine. Proper shoes let kids run free at recess, participate in sports and engage with their peers shame-free. New shoes are a simple solution that can change everything for a child.”

Since 1986, the Carlin Morris Back-to-School Drive at Wilkinson Center has provided shoes to thousands of children in the community, and now also uniforms and school supplies. 

Dynamic volunteer Carlin Morris started serving with Wilkinson Center nearly 40 years ago. During an event, Carlin noticed that many of the children being served were wearing old shoes with holes and tattered soles. Seeing this specific need in the community, Carlin worked with Wilkinson Center to begin the shoe drive. Together, in 37 years, the shoe drive has ensured that 40,000 children started their school year with new shoes and socks. 

 In 2019, Carlin retired as chair of the drive and since then, her daughter and daughter-in-law, Caitlin Hyatt and Lindsay Morris, have worked hard to fill her shoes.

“We hope the community will join us in supporting the back-to-school drive to continue the legacy started by Carlin so many years ago,” added co-chair Lindsay Morris. “Support of the drive will ensure that 500 kids, aged 2 to 18 years old, will start the school year off proudly wearing a new pair of shoes, along with new school supplies and uniforms.” 

To support the Carlin Morris Back-to-School Drive through August 14, donate at / or contact 972-284-0302.