What effect does being homeless have on a person’s feet? One young man has walked a mile in their dilapidated shoes to uncover a need and set out to offer relief.
Brady DeAngelo is helping local homeless families around Holliston, MA combat physical health problems associated with their transient lifestyle. Homeless people spend substantial time on their feet, which can lead to medical complications. A lack of supportive footwear contributes to the problems like painful corns, calluses, athlete’s foot and other infections, bunions, and vascular problems in the foot region.
The Medway Family Homeless Shelter in Massachusetts, where Brady has focused his efforts, reports many of its residents (most are children) walk for miles each day in dirty flip-flops or broken sandals.
Through Brady’s program, residents at the Medway House Family Shelter get brand new supportive sneakers every year. Most residents are children, who are now able to start the school year with new shoes. They live at the shelter because they have nowhere else to go. Some have lost their homes due to tragedy or financial hardship; some never had a home; some have escaped abusive households.
In their struggle to survive, new athletic shoes that fit well would be impossible to obtain without the community’s help. Since Brady started the program, shelter managers say they’ve been able to organize outdoor activities that boost the residents’ overall health and well-being. Residents have come to rely on the sneakers to help keep their feet healthy, clean, and well-supported through the miles they walk every day. The ultimate hope is that this will also help them transition to a better, more stable lifestyle.
Brady posts to a Facebook group page called “Sneakers for the Homeless”, showing readers, many of them donors, how and why their help is so essential. He has written about his project for Points of Light affiliate GenerationOn, and in a magazine called Teen Ink, to show others how to organize similar projects.