In what’s become an annual Thanksgiving tradition, a group of UConn Health Center foot care providers visited two homeless shelters in New Britain to offer foot exams and distribute new footwear.
Between the Friendship Service Center and the Salvation Army, the group provided 33 new pairs of boots Tuesday night, and left behind another 98 pairs. The boots were donated by Red Wing Shoes. Socks also were provided, courtesy of Dignity U Wear, a Florida-based organization that provides new clothing for those in need.
“These folks deserve all the attention and foot care that we provided today,” says Dr. Vinayak Sathe, orthopedic surgeon and foot specialist. “I think with the winter coming along, it will be beneficial to them to get good shoes so they can protect themselves. And of course it’s Thanksgiving, so I think it’s time of giving and helping people out.”
It’s all part of a national effort led by “Our Hearts to Your Soles,” an initiative to provide shoes and foot exams for the less fortunate that started in Pittsburgh seven years ago. The UConn Health Center has been a part of the effort since 2007.
“Foot care is extremely important, especially because it is a gateway to the body,” Sathe says, noting that the feet tend to be a neglected part of the body when access to health care is lacking. “Foot complications can lead to ill health.”
Joining Sathe from the UConn Health Center were cast technicians Kathleen York and Dan Solis, medical assistants Lori Engengrro and Doreen Smith, and Dr. Michael Aronow, formerly of the UConn Health Center. Aronow has been the local organizer of this event since 2007.