The Henderson-based company pediped, which makes children's footwear, is hoping to be the sole support for many children in need of shoes.
"A lot of children don't even have shoes," said Angela Edgeworth, founder and president of pediped. "That's just heartbreaking. That's not going to happen on our watch."
All over the world, children go without proper foot care. In some countries, children even forgo shoes altogether, which increases the potential for developmental challenges to the foot and exposure to disease.
Edgeworth is helping nonprofits address this problem one step at a time.
The company's most recent step was in early March.
Pediped donated $240,000, or about 8,000 pairs of shoes, to the Southern Nevada Urban League Women, Infants & Children program and Sunrise Children's Foundation.
"It was a perfect match," said Jennifer Detommaso, director of WIC at Sunrise Children's Foundation.
Too often , Detommaso said, she sees low-income families leave the hospital with only a single pair of shoes or sometimes none at all.
"We had one instance when this mom came in with four children," Detommaso said . "None came in with shoes. I couldn't believe it, especially since it was the summer. We all gathered money together and went next door to buy some cheap flip-flops ."
Providing foot care doesn't stop locally.
In the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and t sunami that struck Japan, pediped is preparing a donation for the organization Souls 4 Soles.
"Everybody has resources," Edgeworth said about donating.
Edgeworth is still working out the details, but she foresees a donation of about 2,000 pairs of shoes that should go to the victims of the disaster.
Wayne Elsey, founder and CEO of Souls 4 Soles, said it's important to take steps to give Japan resources such as food, water, clothing and shoes.
"In the next couple weeks, we'll be making it happen," Elsey said. "There are two strategies in helping. The first is to help rebuild Japan. The second is to get kids back in schools."
Elsey said offering bare necessities, such as shoes, can help give a little hope to those who lost everything.
Pediped officially launched the pediped foundation in January 2010 with the mission to enhance the lives of children and provide financial support .
"Since we started pediped, it has always been important to us to give back," Edgeworth said.
Pediped has worked with other children's organizations such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, donating more than $445,000 and helping grant 60 wishes .
In 2010, after the earthquake that struck Haiti, pediped donated $70,000 worth of footwear.
Pediped started in 2004 when Edgeworth was trying to find shoes for her daughter.
"The idea came when my daughter was 6 months old," Edgeworth said . "We were looking for shoes. We wanted them to be both cute and healthy for your feet."
Because an infant's bones aren't fully developed and are mostly cartilage, it is important for parents to choose the right shoe for their child's development.
Edgeworth said the traditional shoe she grew up with, which was hard rubber, was not the most beneficial for foot development.
She and her husband, Brian, came up with their own shoe design, which turned into a national business.
It started as a shoe for infants. As her daughter grew older, the line expanded.
"I will stop expanding, I guess, when my daughter (who is now 8) says she doesn't want to wear them anymore," Edgeworth joked.
Edgeworth describes pediped's focus as broken into three age brackets: those who are learning to walk, those who are gaining confidence while walking and the confident walker.
Pediped is sold in more than 3,000 stores in the United States and 40 countries worldwide and has more than 120 designs.
For more information, visit pediped.com or call 567-0311.
Contact Henderson and Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at email@example.com or 387-5201.