Mike Alstott, president of the Mike Alstott Family Foundation, purchased shoes for 60 residents at A Kid’s Place in Valrico for going back to school this year.

This year, the first day of school didn’t go as planned for many students. However, thanks to one local celebrity philanthropist, a group of Brandon area students had one thing all kids look forward to: a new pair of shoes.

Ever since the Mike Alstott Family Foundation and A Kid’s Place formed a partnership, the foundation has been taking A Kid’s Place’s children on a back-to-school shopping spree.

“Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we weren’t able to do our regular back-to-school shopping, so we had to get creative,” said Mike Alstott, president of the Mike Alstott Family Foundation and former Tampa Bay Buccaneer. “Thanks to the staff at A Kid’s Place and the magic of the internet, we were still able to provide shoes to the children.”

The students, a group of 60, were able to pick out their own shoes, which were shipped directly to A Kid’s Place.

“The kids absolutely loved the opportunity to be able to pick out new sneakers of their choice for school,” Tamika Lopez of A Kid’s Place said. “We are so incredibly grateful to the Mike Allston Family Foundation and Reed/TMS for thinking of our children, bringing them some joy and normalcy for the new school year.”

Alstott values his relationship with the organization, which provides residential services to children from birth to age 18 who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or abandonment.

“I had a long relationship with Founder Dottie Berger-McKinnon, so when she started A Kid’s Place, it was natural for my foundation and I to support them,” Alstott said.

Alstott and Lopez look forward to doing more in the upcoming months for the kids at A Kid’s Place.

“I believe there has been some talks about getting out there with some folks from Reed/TMS to help strengthen our bonds,” Alstott said. “Nothing too crazy, but maybe an ice cream social and a fun-filled afternoon, just so we can put some faces to the names and vice versa. Once we’re out of the woods a little bit with the pandemic, we definitely want to get together and remind the kids that we love them and maybe put a smile on their faces one afternoon.”

To learn more about A Kid’s Place, visit www.akidsplacetb.org or call 381-3839. To learn more about the Mike Alstott Family Foundation, visit www.mikealstottfamilyfoundation.org. A Kid’s Place is located at 1715 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Brandon.