Unless we’re shoe shopping, or searching for that one stray sock that somehow escaped from the dryer, most of us probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about shoes and socks.
It’s a different story entirely if you’re someone who’s experiencing homelessness.
If you’re living on the street, you’re on your feet a lot. You’re doing a lot of walking around, whatever the weather. And you’re on your feet. A lot. You’re standing in line for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner and a bed for the night. Having comfortable, sturdy, well-fitting shoes is critical to your survival. Worried that their shoes might be stolen, many of those who are unsheltered rarely take them off. And if something happens to your shoes – a worn-down heel, a hole in the sole – you may not have the money to pay a cobbler to make the fix.
Socks matter, too. Good socks provide a layer of protection. They help cushion the bottom of your feet and help prevent blisters. Having access to clean, dry socks can go a long way to avoiding foot infections. But you may only have the one pair that you’re wearing, and no access to laundry facilities.
At St. Francis House, shoes and socks are always in demand. And while we can usually help our guests out with socks, we rely on our community’s support to supply our guests with an adequate selection of shoes. Sometimes, our guests are so desperate that they’ll take a pair that are the wrong size.
We’re always in need of shoes. Preferably new shoes, since shoes that are anything other than barely worn have been broken in already and will have the imprint of their original owner’s feet. So they’ll never fit someone exactly right.
For the last 17 years, St. Francis House’s Emerging Leaders have sponsored a boat party to raise money and collect shoes. This fundraiser has brought us thousands of pairs of new sneakers and shoes. Many of our guests know when the Shooze Cruise is happening, and they schedule their clothing appointments to take advantage of a time when our shelves will be well-stocked. While our clothing distribution program has changed with the pandemic, we continue to fill daily requests for clothing and shoes.
This year’s Shooze Cruise will be virtual. While it won’t be the same as our in-person events have been, we’re very excited that, despite COVID, the Cruise will go on. There’ll be musical acts, comedians, and raffles that you can enjoy (barefoot, if you’d like) from the comfort of your own home.
If you’d like join us for the Cruise, you can purchase your tickets here. When you sign up, you’ll receive a link to Amazon, where you can order shoes or sneakers from our wish list.
If you’re not able to join us, but would like to donate a pair (or two) of shoes, our wishlist can be found at www.stfrancishouse.org/shoes.
Our guests are always thinking about shoes and socks. With your help, we’ll be able to take that one worry off of their minds!