Sometimes it’s easy to forget what an important role our feet play. Most of us walk around on them all day, and an uncomfortable pair of shoes can give you blisters or even cause pain in other parts of your body, like your back. However, sometimes just finding the right pair of shoes can be a challenge. To give back to the Bellingham community and support foot health for those in need, volunteers from PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center and PeaceHealth Medical Group participated in the Hearts to Soles program at Lighthouse Mission Ministries in Bellingham November 21.
Over the course of the day, a team of 19 volunteers from PeaceHealth — including orthopedic surgeons, nurses and other clinical and non-clinical staff — teamed up with volunteers from Superfeet Worldwide and Cornerstone Prosthetics and Orthotics to care for 363 men, women and children. In addition to getting their foot care needs met from care providers, each who came during the day received a bag for personal belongings, two pair of wool socks, a hygiene kit, chap stick, a foot care kit, and a pair of warm, waterproof boots. Every child was able to pick a toy while waiting in line, and care providers gave 45 flu shots to community members who needed them. There was also plenty of food and coffee for those who came through.
At the end of the day, the team left 150 foot care kits with Lighthouse Mission Ministries, as well as 100 hygiene kits and personal bags for belongings for those who weren’t able to make it to the event.
Our Hearts to Your Soles is a nationwide program that helps provide footwear to those in need, and local volunteers adapted the program to the Pacific Northwest to make sure members of the community have warm shoes and socks for the winter. PeaceHealth began running its version of Hearts to Soles nine years ago, serving 48 men the first year. It has grown in size and demographics in each year since. They hope to expand the program to PeaceHealth communities in southwest Washington and Oregon in future years.
At a time of year when the weather is growing colder, taking care of our communities to make sure everyone is able to stay safe and healthy is a core service of Washington hospitals. Click here to read more about Hearts to Soles. (Tim Pfarr)