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Thanksgiving Reflection

Friday, August 28, 2015
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Shoes given away to needy
archived from: 2011-12-12
by: John Franko

Our Hearts to Your Soles comes to their aid

A group of medical professionals and other volunteers shared their spirit of Thanksgiving by reaching out to those in need.

More than 30 volunteers took part in the Our Hearts to Your Soles program Nov. 23 at the Susan Zubik Welcome Center at Catholic Charities in Downtown Pittsburgh.

They provided foot care, socks and shoes to some 200 men and women.

Doctors from Allegheny General Hospital checked the people for foot and ankle problems, and those who needed additional care were treated by a podiatrist.

The people then received a pair of Red Wing boots and three pairs of socks. The socks were made of antimicrobial material that fights foot fungus for one week.

Our Hearts to Your Soles was founded by Dr. Stephen Conti, a local physician, and his children — Matthew, Laura and Chris — to help the needy.

The program has expanded to 37 sites in 37 states and serves some 8,000 with almost $500,000 in goods and services.

Conti pointed out, however, that numbers are not important. It is the one-on-one contact the volunteers have when they hear the stories of the people.

“We all realize how blessed we are, but this is what tomorrow (Thanksgiving Day) is for us,” he said.

Also volunteering this year were 10 students from Penn State University.

“Whenever you can help someone out, especially in this holiday season, it’s a great feeling,” said Kurt Gingrich, 18, of Allison Park.

Cliff Dietrick of Wexford said he enjoys interacting with the people.

“They have feelings,” he said. “They need warmth.”

Catholic Charities screened the participants in order to identify the truly needy. Those receiving the socks and shoes also had the opportunity to receive a flu shot and breakfast.

More information on Our Hearts to Your Soles is available at www.heartstosoles.com.




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