When Lolo Jones was growing up in Iowa, her family didn't have much money. One year, her elementary school arranged to give holiday gifts to some less fortunate students, and Jones was one of them. Although she was happy to receive a gift, Jones also experienced a different emotion.
"People knew it was because I didn’t have money," Jones told the Des Moines Register, her hometown paper. "So I was kind of embarrassed."
Jones didn't want any of the kids to feel that embarrassment when she returned to Des Moines this week to give out free shoes at Findley Elementary School. So everyone got a pair at the "Shoes for Hope" event produced by the Lolo Jones Foundation.
"Maybe there are some that don't need it, but there are those that do need it -- they're not kind of singled out," Jones told the Register. "You would never know, because they're coming in as a whole classroom."
Jones, a two-time Olympian as a hurdler who is now training for the bobsled, says giving out shoes has special meaning for her.
"There were numerous times throughout my life where I was given a free pair of shoes because my family couldn't afford it," she said. "That kind of helped me launch into being a runner. It gave me hope that there's a future."