Heart and Sole Shoe Exchange Spreads The Love
Stepping outside can be a struggle for 53-year-old Stephanie. The Downtown Eastside resident suffers from chronic back pain, made worse by the fact her boots are falling apart.
â€œIt adds a lot of pain to my lower body, Iâ€™m not walking straight,â€ says Stephanie. â€œThe leather is separating from the sole of my boots. The heels are totally gone, there are holes. Iâ€™m having difficulty walking.â€
Living with degenerating spinal discs, Stephanie depends on Disability Assistance for her daily needs. But with little disposable income, her tattered and uncomfortable boots affect more than her feet.
â€œIt doesnâ€™t make me feel very good that people see the condition of your shoes and judge you: street person, homeless, drug addict, and everything goes down from there.â€
Stephanie, along with hundreds of others, are hoping to walk away from that stigma on February 12th when Vancouver-based SHOES.COM teams up with UGM at the Annual Heart and Sole Shoe Exchange, providing up to 250 pairs of footwear and socks to those in need.
â€œOur mission at SHOES.COM is to empower people every step of the way, and this of course includes helping those in our own backyard,â€ said SHOES.COM Co-Founder and CRO, Sean Clark. â€œOur team is very excited to be partnering with UGM for a third year. Giving back to our local community is an important part of our culture at SHOES.COM and with Vancouverâ€™s wet winters we know how many residents are in need of proper footwear.â€
â€œPeople who struggle with homelessness spend most of their daytime outdoors and on their feet,â€ says UGMâ€™s Matt Hislop. â€œWorn and tattered shoes lead to medical problems including ‘street feet’ â€“ similar to the â€˜trenchfootâ€™ experienced by WWI foot soldiers. These chronic foot problems almost always lead to other issues such as back, knee and hip pain. We’re thankful SHOES.COM has stepped up to help.â€