Shelter Seeking Shoes For Homeless Men

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Monday, November 28, 2011

For the third year, the Soles4Souls event in Wichita will provide feet exams and new shoes for the homeless men at the Union Rescue Mission.

"It's only the one time of year that they do get shoes. They get a new pair and it gets them through the winter time," said Billy Thomas, received a pair of shoes last year.

Thomas is like the nearly 180 men at the Union Rescue Mission who feel blessed to get a pair of shoes that fit.

"This big supply that we get once a year, it really gives everybody a chance to get a new pair of shoes to keep their feet warm. We're really blessed because of it," said Thomas.

But the blessing for the homeless men may not happen if there are no donations for shoes in larger sizes.

"The homeless are typically on their feet a lot, don't have transportation, so they walk to where they need to go. So having a good pair of shoes, especially this time of year, is a treat for them," said Julie Wedan, administrative assistant at Union Rescue Mission.

The nearly 100 pairs of shoes that have been donated by the charity, Soles4Souls, are sizes that do not fit the men at the shelter.

"They sent us 100 pairs which is great except 90 of them are men's size 7, 8, and 9. Most of the men at the shelter take sizes larger than that. While we have new shoes, we just don't have enough of the right size of shoes," said Dr. Naomi Shields, foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon and co-organizer of the event.

The men not only get a new pair of shoes but they also get their feet checked, toe nails clipped, and calluses removed by professionals like Dr. Shields.

"When it's cold in the winter and you're out there in a pair of leaky shoes that have holes, your feet get wet. It opens up an avenue for all kind of medical problems for them," said Dr. Shields.

Organizers are hoping the community will help the homeless men in Wichita with a new pair of shoes.

"It's a real treat to be able to give a man a pair shoes that actually are his size," said Wedan.

You can drop off new or gently used men's shoes in sizes 9 and larger to the locations listed below.

Union Rescue Mission
2800 N. Hillside Street
Wichita, KS 67219
(316) 687-4673

Advanced Orthopaedic Associates
2778 N. Webb Road
Wichita, KS 67226
(316) 631-1600

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