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Organization Provides New Shoes for the Needy

Jess Lasky

With the slush, snow, salt, and ice, good shoes are a must for the winter, but for the homeless good shoes are not always easy to come by because often the donated ones are the wrong size or worn out.

That is why Our Heart to Your Soles spent Monday properly fitting brand new shoes to the needy right before the winter hits at its annual give away event.

They gave away about 400 pairs of shoes and anti-bacterial socks to anyone who needed them.

“Most of the homeless around the country are on the street during the day, the shelters will take care of them in the evening, but they walk around the street, and so when the weather gets colder and the temperature drops these kind of Red Wing shoes are very important to protect their foot from trouble,” said President of Our Heart to Your Soles, Stephen Conti.

The charity received 750 pairs of shoes from the Red Wing Company, and all shoes not given away will be passed out throughout the remainder of the winter season through Catholic Charities and Operation Safety Net.

Our Heart to Your Soles started in 2004 after Conti’s children volunteered at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and saw the problems that were caused by improper footwear. Ten years later the organization has grown to be in 35 states with 500 volunteers distributing about 8,000 pairs of shoes a year. 

“I think I see a lot of satisfaction in all of the volunteers. You’re seeing all of the people we have here today, we must have 40 or 50 volunteers, and they all get something out of it, and that’s why we do it around Thanksgiving, because we’re thankful for what we each have,” said Conti.

Jess was accepted as a WESA fellow in the news department in January 2014. The Erie, PA native attends Duquesne University where she has a double major--broadcast journalism and political science. Following her anticipated graduation in May 2015, she plans to enter law school or begin a career in broadcast journalism.
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