T-Rell donates 500 pairs of shoes to Topeka community

Get together: T-Rell, many family members, assistants and other attendees gather together for a group photo. The shoe giveaway was a great opportunity to bring the community together.

A smile is a reward enough for T-Rell, the man who has found a way to give back to the community that raised him.

Musician and Topeka native Terrell Terry or T-Rell gave away 500 shoes to local children this past weekend on Saturday at Evergy Energy Plaza in Downtown Topeka, attracting large crowds in the early morning hours.

“The energy, it’s just an upbeat, fun energy that everybody feels,” said Renee Teague. “There’s just smiles everywhere, it’s very diverse and it’s just a happy place.”

Starting with a random act of kindness three years ago, T-Rell has made it an annual goal to give away hundreds of pairs of shoes to those who need them the most.

“One day I randomly went to Walmart and bought 300 pairs of shoes,” said T-Rell. “I stood outside Walmart and I just gave them away one, by one, by one.”

Alongside several family members, assistants and other supporters, T-Rell gave away box after box of new shoes to children and their families, turning away none.

T-Rell’s oldest brother, Cortez Davis, said that this was a great way for them to give back and be a blessing for someone else.

“We remember being kids and wishing for things, hoping for things,” said Davis. “We just want to try to secure some of those hopes and wishes for other kids coming up.”

Giving back is exactly what T-Rell did.

Even with a strong chance of rain, dozens of people showed up at the plaza to get free shoes and pizza vouchers. Families from all across the Topeka community accepted T-Rell’s generosity and walked away with some fancy new footwear.

“I saw this on Facebook shared earlier this week,” said Rachel Moeller. “We drove by and went to the farmers market and so we decided to come back and get some free shoes today.”

The shoes were provided by 7Scooop, a business that markets its shoes as being “Made for a kid, by a kid”.

D-Rell, the “stand-in” for T-Rell, spent his time on Saturday helping manage things and hand out shoes to the kids.

“We don’t come from the greatest environments, and we know how it is, you know, growing up where you want things, but your parents might not be able to afford them,” said D-Rell. “And I mean, just because we are in a position where we can give back. You know, we just try to help our community, make sure the kids are good.”

D-Rell went on to say that the giveaway took down barriers between people, especially those as related to race. According to him, “those little kids don’t see color”.

“They’re playing with each other [the children], just like they grew up together,” said D-Rell. “But if you come out here with adults who are supposed to be responsible, people are color stricken. And so I mean, it’s just them, like genuinely appreciating a shoe. It’s not like it’s Jordan, or, you know, Gucci or something like that. They’re just happy to have a pair of good shoes that, you know, they’re gonna put on and be able to play around with.”

T-Rell also received a certificate of recognition which was presented to him by former police chief Bill Cochran from Mayor Michelle De La Isla commemorating all the community work he’s been doing over the years and which officially marks May 22 as “T-Rell Day”.

“I love what my husband does,” said Teray Terry, T-Rell’s wife. “I love how motivated he is, how much of a dream chaser he is, I really admire that.”

With the success of the giveaway and T-Rell’s continued commitment to the Topeka community, it is likely that he will do another shoe giveaway next year or again in the near future.

“The smiles, the laughter, the happiness,” said Davis. “This, the kids enjoying themselves, that’s what it’s all about. It’s all about making sure the generations after you see better than you.”

Edited by: Crystal Hendrix