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.
“It adds a lot of pain to my lower body, I’m not walking straight,” says Stephanie. “The leather is separating from the sole of my boots. The heels are totally gone, there are holes. I’m having difficulty walking.”
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.
“It doesn’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.”
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.
“Our mission at SHOES.COM is to empower people every step of the way, and this of course includes helping those in our own backyard,” said SHOES.COM Co-Founder and CRO, Sean Clark. “Our 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 Vancouver’s wet winters we know how many residents are in need of proper footwear.”
“People who struggle with homelessness spend most of their daytime outdoors and on their feet,” says UGM’s Matt Hislop. “Worn and tattered shoes lead to medical problems including ‘street feet’ – similar to the ‘trenchfoot’ 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.”