Musician Vic Mensa is collecting thousands of pairs of shoes to donate to kids in need on the South Side. Credit: Kate Scott

CHICAGO — A foundation led by musician Vic Mensa plans to donate gym shoes to kids near the same spot where police used a “bait truck” earlier this month.

Thousands of gym shoes have been donated to Mensa’s SaveMoneySaveLife foundation, which plans to pass out the shoes to children in need. Organizers came up with the idea after Norfolk Southern Railroad and the Chicago Police Department set up a “bait truck” with boxes of shoes in Englewood, then arrested people who tried to break into the truck.

Videos of the “bait truck” went viral on social media and led to public outcry, with politicians and residents saying the truck created crime and questioning why resources were spent on the program in an area plagued by gun violence.

In response, Mensa’s foundation will set up an “anti-bait truck” and give out the shoes during a back-to-school event, according to a Sun-Times report. The date of the event hasn’t been finalized yet.

Those who wish to donate shoes can do so through an online Amazon wishlist. More than 3,000 pairs of shoes had already been donated as of Friday morning, according to a tweet from activist and writer Shaun King. The foundation hopes to get at least 5,000 pairs of shoes, according to the Sun-Times.

SaveMoneySaveLife’s project isn’t the only one that’s been created in response to the bait truck: A petition calling for the Chicago Police to stop using bait trucks has collected more than 30,000 signatures online.

Norfolk Southern has said it doesn’t plan to use bait trucks in the future, and Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson has said the department will take “a hard look” at the practice going forward. Twitter @BauerJournalism

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