Local family gives back with Flip Flops for Summer event

Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Pictured are the flip flops which will be given away during the Flip Flops for Summer event slated for July 12 at Rebel Nutrition. Pictured in no particular order are: Jolene Billingsley, Emma Burgess, Autumn Burgess, Jessica Heavner and Abby Johnson.

As summer arrives, the owners of Rebel Nutrition located at the Highland Shopping Center in Highland, have been gearing up to give back to the community as they prepare for a Flip Flops for Summer event.

According to co-owner Jolene Billingsley, several hundred pairs of flip flops have been purchased and will be given away July 12 at the store’s location between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.

“I am an active penny and coupon shopper. I knew shoes were going to be going on sale and so my daughters and I went to the Dollar General in Ash Flat to catch the sale,” Billingsley said.

While shopping, Billingsley and her daughters began to fill carts full of shoes with the intention of donating them over time, however; Billingsley was shaken after a comment was made by her daughter Emma.

“As we were filling our second cart full of the shoes, my daughter Emma looked at me and was like, ‘mom, it would be nice if we could give these to the kids around here who don’t have shoes’. I thought for a moment and said, it would be. Then she started telling me about some of the kids from her school who didn’t really have shoes for the summer,” Billingsley said.

Although there are several organizations who partner each year to provide items to students in need, Billingsley said she and her children felt inspired to find a way to add to the options.

“We stood there and looked at each other for a minute, and then we decided we would go to all of the stores in the area we could, and buy as many pairs of shoes as possible to give them away,” Billingsley said.

While the family continued their mission to purchase shoes to be given away, Billingsley said it wasn’t long before they realized they had gathered so many, they would need help in giving away the flip flops.

“We ended up with several hundred pairs of shoes. The shoes that were not flip flops we went ahead and donated, but we wanted to set something up so that people could know ahead of time, register and come and get shoes,” Billingsley said.

When asked why Billingsley and Heavner opted to host the event at their business, they were in agreement it would be a location at which people could get out of the heat while picking out their free flip flops.

“The store is a perfect location because it’s air conditioned and people in the community can see what we do and that we do care about this community and want to give back,” Heavner said. “Another reason we will be hosting it there and have chosen a day we are not typically open is so that we will have an opportunity to get to know people and they can get to know us. We want to give back, we want to raise health awareness and let people know there are options within the community for people to utilize and better their health.”

Billingsley said the shoe sizes are not limited to school age children but range from toddler to adult.

“We are asking that people call or send a Facebook message to register so we can make sure we can pair shoes with people. We also have a donation jar set up and the money from that will either be used to purchase more shoes, or will be given to the Backpack Extravaganza that is held in August before school starts back to help purchase more shoes,” Billingsley said.

Heavner said in addition to the flip flops being given, there will also be products available for those who come to the event to sample.

“This event is open to anyone in Sharp, Izard or Fulton counties. If a pair of flip flops will help your child through the summer, we encourage you to call and register,” Billingsley said.

For more information, contact Jolene at 936-239-2527 or send her a message on Facebook.

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