Providing Shoes, Socks for the Needy

Carmen and Lori going through boxes of shoes
Carmen Propiescus (left) and Lori Engengrro from UConn Health Orthopedics & Sports Medicine sort through boxes of donated shoes at the Friendship Service Center in New Britain on Nov. 25, 2019. (Photo by Mike Aronow)

For UConn Health staff volunteers, it’s become a Thanksgiving tradition: providing new socks and shoes to homeless people in the central Connecticut area.

Lori opening shoe box
Medical assistant Lori Engengrro is among the volunteers from UConn Health Orthopedics & Sports Medicine who regularly take part in the annual “Our Hearts to Your Soles” outreach program at Friendship Service Center in New Britain. (Photo by Mike Aronow)

Monday evening, Lori Engengrro and Carmen Propiescus from UConn Health Orthopedics & Sports Medicine took part in this year’s “Our Hearts to Your Soles” outreach event at the Friendship Service Center in New Britain, where people were fitted for and provided new shoes and at least one pair of new socks. An additional 63 pairs of shoes and more than 70 pairs of socks were left behind at the shelter to give to others.

“Our Hearts to Your Soles” is a national effort to provide quality shoes and boots, fittings and foot exams to less fortunate men and women. Foot problems are especially common among the homeless, often exacerbated by lack of access to properly fitting footwear.

UConn Health’s involvement goes back to 2007, when Dr. Michael Aronow, who at the time was on the faculty, started organizing local volunteers to take part for a night leading up to Thanksgiving. He has continued that every year since.

Red Wing Shoes provided shoes and boots. Orthopaedic Associates of Hartford provided socks.