MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Hundreds of shoes were made available to hundreds of Memphis-Shelby County students Wednesday morning through a collaboration between the national non-profit Operation Warm and Memphis-based company FedEx.

Treadwell Elementary was transformed into the Treadwell Shopping Mall Wednesday. Pre-K through second-grade students went shopping for a new and free pair of shoes thanks to a partnership between Operation Warm, a national non-profit, and FedEx.

Nearly 450 pairs of shoes were given to students.

Rachel Kesselman with FedEx said it was a treat for the little ones and the nearly 50 volunteers as well. The event is part of the Memphis-based company’s 50 Days of Caring campaign.

“They are here to help serve and provide smiles to the kids and just joy,” said Kesselman. “Having shoes and having a coat with Operation Warm allows a barrier to remove people from not coming to school.  We want these kids to come to school.”

More than 400 students were escorted into the gym and greeted by applause. Each student was paired with their own “personal shopper.” From there, they stopped at the measuring mat to guarantee the perfect fit and went straight to the tables topped with fun and flashy footwear.

The decision could be difficult, but with patience, the perfect pair made its way into their shopping bag.

Students also enjoyed story time while their classmates were being fitted.

“We don’t know what giving these shoes out will help kids do… it could change their whole trajectory of their lives,” said Kesselman.

Dr. Cathyrn Stout, Chief of Communications with Memphis-Shelby County Schools, explained to us how much events like this one mean to students.

“FedEx team members selected Treadwell Elementary because of their connections to the school both as volunteers and former students. Our students love when community members visit; it infuses excitement in the school day,” Stout said. “Whether giving gifts or simply giving time, these outreach moments show students that they have an entire village supporting and celebrating them. Memphis-Shelby County Schools is thrilled to have a hometown hero and global giant like FedEx as part of our students’ village.”

As for this initiative, those with FedEx say throughout March and April, they will ship more than 8,400 pairs of shoes to dozens of schools across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.