Cranston Rep. Robert Lancia (District 16) and his wife Maryann will hold the third Annual Hope for the Holidays, a benefit for the Gotta Have Sole Foundation (GHSF), at Panera Bread in Chapel View on Jan. 6 from 9 a.m. to noon. Those attending are requested to purchase a pair of brand new sneakers in their own shoe size to be donated to homeless children throughout Rhode Island.
Rep. Lancia recalls how this event began three years ago, “It was a rare day for me. I was home, had the television on, tuned to, of all things, Kathie Lee and Hoda. Just then my phone rang. It was an elderly constituent telling me I needed to get the young man sitting between the two celebrities up to the State House. But who was he?” said Lancia.
After a little bit of investigation Lancia learned the young man was Nicholas Lowinger, an individual who decided at age 12 to start his own foundation called Gotta Have Sole. He and his family reside in Lancia’s district.
“Since that time, he, his mom Lori, and his dad Danny and I have become special friends,” said Rep. Lancia. “I also decided to help them by doing an annual end of the year event, Hope for the Holidays."
“So, for the last three years I’ve held my “Hope for the Holidays” event at Panera Bread in Cranston. In addition to being there to collect donations with Lori Lowinger, Nicolas’ mom, we also try and have some interesting guests stop by like Hope Man, local beauty queens, and this year, Mr. & Mrs. Claus,” said Rep. Lancia.
Rep. Lancia holds a Coffee with Constituents at the Panera Bread in Chapel View at the end of each month and has found them to be more than accommodating for “Hope for the Holidays.”
Lancia’s goal is also to involve the three elementary schools in his district: Glen Hills Elementary, Garden City Elementary and Daniel S. Waterman Elementary.
“The look in the face of a child who receives one of these new pairs of shoes or sneakers is priceless. It makes them feel special,” said Lancia. “And to see how they care for them, it touches me, my wife’s, Lori’s, her husband Danny’s, and Nicolas’s hearts at the deepest level imaginable. That’s why we will continue to do this year after year.”
For more information on the Gotta Have Sole Foundation visit www.gottahavesole.org.