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An annual charity event with the Sunday Breakfast Mission and Delaware Orthopaedic Specialists kicks off on Nov. 4 in the community.
The mission of the Our Hearts to Your Soles charity event is to provide a new pair of free socks and shoes to the men and women of the shelter at the Sunday Breakfast Mission, as well as to the homeless individuals in the area.
Kim Walus, director of marketing at Delaware Orthopaedic Specialists, is very optimistic about this year’s event on Nov. 4., after not being able to host the event last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think the thing we’re looking forward to this year is the fact that we were not there last year,” Walus says. “I think we’re going to see people that have gone two years without getting a new pair of shoes,” instead of getting a new pair every year like they normally would, thanks to the Hearts to Soles event.
There are usually around 200 homeless people in need of a new pair of shoes who show up to the event every year, but about 50 of those same people continue to show up, year after year.
“It’s a lot when you think about the fact that they’re living on the streets, they don’t have anything and they’re coming here and possibly getting their own pair of shoes that they haven’t had since the year prior,” says Walus.
Volunteers who are foot and ankle care specialists also participate in Hearts to Soles to give some of these individuals the proper care they need. Delaware Orthopaedic Specialists Foot and Ankle doctors, Dr. Perscky, Dr. Kupcha and Dr. Ward all volunteer their time each year to perform foot care exams, free of charge.
“Not only are we giving up the shoes, but our foot and ankle specialists are also providing foot care for these people, so it could be as simple as a nail trim or a wound,” Walus says. “They’re providing foot exams and foot care for, I would say, over 100 of those people that come through.”
The Our Hearts to Your Soles event takes place at the Sunday Breakfast Mission each year. Reverend Tom Laymon, who has been with the rescue mission ministry since 1989, considers the event “an extraordinary gift” to the individuals of the Sunday Breakfast Mission shelter and other homeless participants who are not a part of the shelter.
A new pair of shoes is something that is often taken for granted, especially a pair that fits the way it should. Homeless men specifically often struggle with finding a shoe that is a good fit.
“Homeless men oftentimes are wearing shoes that are terribly fitting, their souls have been worn off, they have holes in them. All of these [add] to the detriment of their feet and when their feet are bad, their whole structure becomes bad as well,” Rev. Laymon says.
But despite these challenges, all volunteers strive to give these homeless individuals the socks and shoes they need to be comfortable. Rev. Laymon says, “We don’t run from a challenge and we’re not going to this year, in particular, for Hearts to Soles because it’s so critical.”
The Our Hearts to Your Soles charity event will be held on Thursday, Nov. 4 at the Sunday Breakfast Mission in Wilmington.