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West Valley City Journal

Hope Hive delights young students with new shoes

Jan 04, 2022 09:09AM ● By Bill Hardesty

Volunteers help students with new shoes as other students watch with anticipation. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)

Remember the smell of a new car? Remember the excitement of unwrapping your new cell phone? Remember getting a pair of new shoes? A universal truth is getting new items in our lives brings feelings of joy.

On Nov. 18, the joy of newness was in the air at Pioneer Elementary (3860 S. 3380 West) because every student was given a new pair of shoes.

"We are a Title 1 school. So, for most of these kids, this is the first pair of new shoes they have ever received," principal Doug Johnson said.

The project

Stacy Catmull, a loan officer at Altius Mortgage, and Leslie Moss, a mortgage broker at Expert Loan Lady, decided to honor the top-producing women in the mortgage industry. Twenty-five women were honored at the Hope Gala.

"They're working moms. They work hard. They're very successful at what they do. And we wanted to get them together," Catmull said.

At the Gala, they raised $32,000. Their first idea was to make contributions to local charities meaningful to them. Then, they decided to start their foundation because they wanted every penny to go to communities. While the paperwork is still in the works, the Hope Hive Foundation began its work. Before the shoe giveaway, the foundation gave 200 fans for refugees and fed the homeless at Liberty Park twice.

"The shoe giveaway was Leslie's idea. She always had a dream to provide shoes to every student at an elementary school," Catmull said.

Catmull is friends with McCall Plummer, a third-grade teacher at Pioneer Elementary. They started to discuss the needs of the students, and Catmull decided Pioneer would make an excellent fit for Leslie's dream. They reached out to the school administration and they were supportive.

In October, women from the mortgage industry came to the school and measured the feet of every student.

"You know it was interesting when we came to measure their shoes. What we found is most of the shoes were way too big. Or they were too small, but they didn't fit them just right. And so that's the thing that we were most excited about was it wasn't just a pair of shoes that was a hand-me-down or that you know somebody else had worn it was a brand new pair of shoes, and some of these kids don't even have homes. So, for them to have a brand new pair of shoes is special. I just want them to feel important and like they matter," Catmull said.

With sizes and numbers in hand, they looked for a partner who could get the shoes. They posted their request on Facebook, and Scott Jensen, the owner of Gary's Shoe Store in Richfield, Utah, reached out. Jensen supplied the shoes at his cost.

"He ordered all the shoes for us. And he gave them all to us at his cost, which was just really amazing. And really, the only way that we could have made it happen. So, we're really grateful for him," Catmull said. "And these are name brands like Nike, Adidas, and Vans."

"It is all about the giving on both ends," Jensen said.

The giveaway

The day arrived, and about 470 pair of shoes were carried in. Boxes and volunteers were divided. Each team took the shoes to each class.

The mortgage industry women called up each student and helped them put on the shoes. As mothers do, they ensured each shoe fit. Their excitement helped the students feel special.

In John Cederlund's second-grade class, students sat on the edge of their seats as they strained to see a classmate get their shoes. Many of them just had to get closer, and they formed a semicircle around the shoe receiver. When each box was opened, the group voiced their excitement for the recipient.

After getting his new shoes, one classmate started to run in the back of the room because "these are my sonic shoes. I know they make me run faster." 

A third-grade girl just couldn't standstill. So, she just kept dancing and saying, "I got new shoes."

A third-grade girl came up to get her shoes. She was wearing a glittery top. Her new pink and glittery shoes delighted her.