Flags equal shoes.
That’s the equation being used in Moline this winter by the Optimist Breakfast club.
“Our main source of income is our flag program, which involves five installations of flags, which would be memorial day, flag day, fourth of July, labor day and veterans day,” said Optimist Club Chairman Pat Wendt.
The flags are all made in house by members of the club.
Residents are charged 45 dollars to have these flags installed.
The money is then used to buy shoes and coats for kids at the Jefferson Early Childhood Center.
“They’re going to be more prepared to come here and learn,” said Jefferson Principal Rachel Fowler.
The teachers pick out which kids need the clothes.
And sometimes its a lot.
“50 percent to 80 percent of our kids, there’s a need for something, whether it be shoes or coats or food,” said Fowler.
Everyone thinks of coats during the winter months, but shoes are just as important.
“So when your shoes are too small, they make your feet hurt. And its hard for you to run and play and even think about numbers and letters and things like that,” said Fowler.
And it goes farther than just the children.
“The optimists help fill a void that we have in school. We you look at a budget and you look at our funding, we know we have this partnership, but we also know they’re here to support us. And without the optimists, we couldn’t do our job as well as we do,” said Fowler.
So flags do in fact equal shoes.
And in this case, that means happy children.
“They jump around, they sing. And the ones that have lighted shoes pound the ground and light up the whole hallway. Its really quite fun,” said Wendt.