Nicholas Lowinger is someone you’ve probably never heard of … unless you happen to be one of the estimated 2.5 million homeless children in America. As a 5-year old growing up in Rhode Island, Nicholas received a new pair of sneakers that lit up when he walked. Back then, his mom volunteered at local homeless shelters and would take Nicholas with her. During those visits, Nicholas saw young children who didn’t have shoes or had shoes that were falling apart. Some children shared shoes with one another and would miss school when it wasn’t their turn.
Even at that young age, Nicholas understood that happiness is found in the service of others and started donating his almost-new footwear and clothing. Pursuing his calling, in 2010, Nicholas started a non-profit called Gotta Have Sole Foundation with the mission to donate new and correctly sized shoes to homeless children. By now, the organization has donated over 45,000 pairs of new shoes to homeless children in 43 states.
Click here to see a listing of children homelessness by state. For the record, the three states with the least amount of homeless children are Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island (in that order), and the three worst are California, New York and Kentucky (in that order).
Children experiencing homelessness:
- Are sick four times more often than other children. They have:
- Four times as many respiratory infections.
- Twice as many ear infections.
- Five times more gastrointestinal problems.
- Four times more likely to have asthma.
- Go hungry at twice the rate of other children.
- Have high rates of obesity due to nutritional deficiencies.
- Have three times the rate of emotional and behavioral problems compared to non-homeless children.
Violence plays a major role in the lives of homeless children.
- By age 12, 83% had been exposed to at least one serious violent event.
- Almost 25% have witnessed acts of violence within their families.
Click here to see a fact sheet on homelessness in America. At a time of unprecedented wealth for a few, it seems like not much has changed since the Great Depression for some of the most vulnerable in America.
Yours in love and shoed,