Ludacris, Mercedes-Benz grant holiday wishes with new shoes
Rapper and actor Ludacris, right, smiles with a student who received new shoes at Miles Intermediate Elementary School in Atlanta on Wednesday, December 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Sharon Johnson)

ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) — Just in time for the holidays, Ludacris and Mercedes-Benz have surprised schoolchildren in Atlanta with more than 500 new pairs of shoes.

“It’s all about giving kids moments that they’re going to remember for the rest of their lives,” Ludacris said Wednesday at Miles Elementary School.

“And I think today is one of those days that just coming here and seeing the smiles on their faces and making sure that, you know, everything is just given to them and knowing that we’re here to help and we’re here to encourage them.”

The rapper and entertainer said he’d remember the day for the rest of his life, too.

The car company’s holiday giving program, Season to Shine, partnered with nonprofit Shoes That Fit to provide kids with new athletic shoes to attend school. Mercedes also partnered with its brand ambassador Ludacris and his foundation, The Ludacris Foundation, to deliver the shoes to the elementary school Wednesday.

Since 1992, Shoes That Fit has provided over 2 million pairs of brand-new shoes and other necessities to children across the United States.

“We are thrilled to partner with Shoes That Fit and to have donated sneakers to students across the country — this is a tangible step to ensure children arrive at school with confidence -- prepared to learn, play and succeed,” Dimitris Psillakis, president and CEO of MBUSA said in a statement.

The excitement and joy for hundreds of new shoes isn’t just from the students — it also has a lasting impact on their educators, as well.

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent, Dr Lisa Herring, said that this was the chance to “give them an opportunity to have great confidence as they walk in confidence through new shoes that have been provided for them.”

Miles Principal, Thalise Perry, said Wednesday's surprise was important to the children's overall education.

“So when they feel good about themselves, they look good that they will perform high inside of our classroom. So many of our students each day, we look to make sure that we can provide support for them, support for their families. And this is one key way of doing just that,” Perry said.

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