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Club raises funds, give shoes to kids

The Madera Leo Club has delivered shoes to students at two Madera schools thanks to the help of Movies Madera, Vans and California Highway Patrol.

The club partnered with the local cinema to host a March 7 showing of “Captain Marvel” to raise funds for children’s shoes, socks and coats. There CHP officers Mark Cosentino and Javier Ruvalcaba presented a $1,500 check to help Leos clothe Madera Unified School District students.

“We had a Christmas party and each officer could bid on some auction items. We learned about what the Leos were already doing and we wanted to be a part of it,” said Cosentino, whose daughter is a Leo who went with the club to deliver coats in November. There she saw that coat recipients needed shoes as well.

Donating shoes, socks and coats to Madera children has been a longtime project of the Leos, who raise funds throughout the year for their New Shoes and New Coat projects. Leos contact all Madera elementary schools and receive a list of students in need identified by their teacher.

The club recently entered in a new partnership with the nonprofit Madera Linkage Foundation, which collaborates with Madera Unified School District to collect and distribute resources for education. The foundation accepts donations of unsold shoes and clothing from a Vans store on North Riverside Drive in Fresno.

“This partnership was really because of Anne Lozano and her work within the Evening Lions,” said foundation president Timothy Riche. “This past year we gave over $5,500 dollars in teacher grants and support the robotics team and helped put on a couple of events to support students developing their potential to become leaders. We are glad to partner with the Vans store and the Leos to continue to obtain items to ultimately help our students.”

The Leos went to La Vina and Eastin-Arcola elementary schools to deliver shoes March 8. Ruvalcaba, Riche and Vans store stock manager Jared Thelander accompanied Leos for the first Vans delivery. Ruvalcaba is an alumnus of La Vina Elementary.

“It can be a tough place to grow up,” said Ruvalcaba. “The students today were so appreciative because it is rare that many of them get new clothing like that.”

Leo Club shoe deliveries and fundraisers will continue. Evening Lion and Leo Club advisor Ruth Nishimoto said recipients aren’t the only ones blessed by the gifts. Those who give are blessed as well, and many Leos comment that putting on a new pair of shoes and socks on the children was unforgettable.

“Our Leos are touched by the smiles that happen and how grateful the children are that receive the clothing. The Leos are creating leaders that have a work ethic, compassion and the ability to make a difference,” said Nishimoto “We are grateful for people in the community, the Linkage Foundation, Vans Store and CHP for helping us to continue in helping create a brighter future.”

For information on how to help, visit the Madera Evening Lions online at or the Madera Linkage Foundation at

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