Christiana Care Department of Orthopaedic Surgery provided new shoes, socks and foot exams for free to nearly 150 people — many of them homeless, in December at the Sunday Breakfast Mission shelter in Wilmington.
The event is part of a campaign by the national organization Our Hearts to Your Soles, whose mission is to provide indigent people with shoes and free foot examinations.
Paul Kupcha, M.D., section chief of Foot and Ankle Surgery at Christiana Care and an orthopaedic surgeon with Delaware Orthopaedic Specialists, is the local coordinator for the event. Dr. Kupcha said that foot health provides a clue to a person’s overall health. Joint stiffness, for example, can indicate arthritis; tingling and numbness can be connected to diabetes; swelling can indicate high blood pressure or diseases of the heart and kidneys.
“By providing our most needy neighbors with shoes, they are able to get more physical activity and are protected from frostbite,” said Dr. Kupcha, who has volunteered with Our Hearts to Your Soles for seven years.
“We also examine individuals’ feet and treat them if they are suffering from chronic foot-related problems. I am grateful for the partnerships that we have formed in our community that enable us to provide expert care and high-quality footwear to our neighbors.”
Red Wing Shoes donated 100 pairs of new shoes for the local event.
Hypertension, respiratory illness and foot problems are the three most common health issues that the homeless face, said the Rev. Tom Laymon, executive director of the Sunday Breakfast Mission.
“Homeless men and women are in such great need of care for their feet and good shoes,” Laymon said. “It is truly a blessing to be provided with these special gifts, particularly going into winter.”