young boy tying his shoes

Walking in a Foster Child’s Shoes

I love shopping for new shoes. As a California girl, I especially love flip flops but I don’t discriminate on other shoes like sandals, tennis shoes or heels. There’s something about a great pair of shoes that make you feel your best. I know that I’m not alone in this, which I learned through our Mattress Firm Foster Kids Shoe Drive.

Mattress Firm Foster Kids Shoe Drive

Mattress Firm Foster Kids host year-round collection drives for essentials like new clothing, shoes, school supplies and toys during the holidays. Donations are collected through the Ticket to Dream Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, and after each of the six annual donation drives, proceeds stay in the community where donated and are distributed to carefully chosen local nonprofit foster care partners. It’s incredible to see the generosity from our communities who stand behind our mission that not everyone can be a foster parent, but anyone can help a foster child.

Donating to our Shoe Drive gives children in foster care an opportunity to join the basketball team, have a pep in their step for back to school and fit in with their peers. For children who have lost their family and been separated from their siblings, something little, like a pair of shoes, can make a big difference.

Your Shoe Donation Truly Makes A Difference

One of the best parts of our day on the Community Relations team is going through our mail. Heartfelt letters from foster care agencies show us the difference we’re truly making in the lives of children in foster care. We also love letters and cards from foster youth who received support through our collection drives. Many of their cards are filled with colorful drawings and simple but impactful messages.

One day as I opened the thank you cards we had received, I was expecting to enjoy hand written notes and drawings from foster children. What I wasn’t expecting is to stop in my tracks by what a few of them said. “I feel like a superhero in my new shoes.” “I can run and keep up with my friends now.”

These notes are a welcomed reminder why the work we do through Mattress Firm Foster Kids is so important. There are 400,000 foster children nationwide who need our help. They’re removed from their homes with sometimes just the clothes off their backs and the shoes on their feet. The new homes they’re placed in do their best to help replace items they’ve out grown but the reality is children outgrow items quickly and support for foster parents is not enough. Grandparents and extended family that open their homes also need help filling the gaps to provide the necessities.

Donating to the Mattress Firm Foster Kids Shoe Drive is Simple

Many of us will never understand what it’s like to walk in their shoes, but there are ways to help make their path in life a little smoother. Donating a pair of shoes can mean they have the chance to run faster, jump higher and show off their personal style. Bring your donation of new shoes in any size – from toddler to teen – to a Mattress Firm today through Oct. 30, and they’ll be matched with a foster child in need in your area through one of our local nonprofit partners.

About The Author

Mauri Knowles

As director of community relations for Mattress Firm, Mauri Knowles channels her passion for helping others by connecting Mattress Firm employees with opportunities to make an impact on their communities and partnering with local non-profit organizations. Mauri joined the Mattress Firm family of brands in 2004, and since then she has helped us donate more than 2 million essential items and $5 million to foster children in need.
She also serves as vice president of the Ticket to Dream Foundation, which supports the Mattress Firm Foster Kids program and raises funds and awareness for pancreatic cancer. Mauri says that one of her proudest moments of her career was helping launch the foundation in 2008.
A California native and proud alumna of California State University, Sacramento, Mauri loves staycations with her family to the beach and nearby lakes. And, whether for work or for pleasure, she throws a good party; from themed dinner parties for family and friends to our annual golf tournament and fundraiser – if Mauri is in charge you know you’ll have a good time.
Best Night’s Sleep: Mauri sleeps happy at home on her Beautyrest mattress on a moveable base after a day spent helping others; and she typically wakes up the next morning having spent the night dreaming it’s possible to do even more.

4 thoughts on “Walking in a Foster Child’s Shoes

  1. Cynthia Dudin says:

    Thank you for all you do for foster children. I was in a foster home as a child. For the past 5 years I’ve donated RED sparkle shoes to little girls and shoes to little boys, including toys, all at Christmas and always to a charity or church. Please let me know who you donate the shoes to in Houston, Texas. I’m definitely going to donate to Mattress Firm, but would like more details. Thanks!

  2. Mauri Knowles says:

    Hi Cynthia,
    Mattress Firm Foster Kids partners with local nonprofits in each of our markets to distribute items donated during the drives. Donations made in your community go directly to foster children in your area. In Houston, we partner with Angel Reach and Child Advocates, Inc.

    You can learn more about our nonprofit partners here:

    Thank you so much for your generosity!

  3. I would like to make contact with someone in the mattressfirm corporation about a community project that our Lions club is planning. I have tried the e-mail address given to me by the local store and my e-mail comes back, when I try to call the recording states that the operator is not available and since I do not know who I need to speak with I cannot enter an extension number. Can someone there please help?

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