What is it?
The ShoeRenu Foot Care Clinic is a partnered project between the Rotary Club of Vancouver Quadra, The Salvation Army Harbour Light, The British Columbia Podiatric Medical Association, Rackets & Runners and The Right Shoe.
What’s the aim?
The goal of the project is to help those in need in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside by providing them with clean, dry shoes along with new socks at Foot Care Clinics held 3-4 times per year at the Salvation Army Harbour Light location in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside. Foot fungus is a common problem for street people as they often don’t have an opportunity to change or even take off their shoes and socks for days or even weeks at a time. Clean, dry shoes and socks are vital for these individuals to maintain reasonable foot health.
How did it start?
The Foot Care Clinic was founded by Robert Rickey, a former member of the Rotary Club of Vancouver Quadra. Through an association with the Salvation Army and other social agencies, he learned of the widespread issues with foot health in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside and he decided to do something about it. He approached the Salvation Army Harbour Light who agreed to host the clinics at their space as well as the British Columbia Association of Podiatrists who agreed to send volunteer podiatrists to the clinics.
The first clinic was operated in March 2008 with approximately 400 clients attending. As soon as we saw the line-up of over a hundred people more than 2 hours before the clinic opened, we knew there was a great need for this project.
How are the shoes distributed?
The shoes are distributed at Foot Care Clinics held 3-4 times per year at The Salvation Army Harbour Light in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside. Each person receives a clean, dry pair of shoes and a new pair of socks. They also have the choice to take a foot bath and to see a podiatrist.
The clinics are powered by volunteers from the Salvation Army, The Rotary Club of Vancouver Quadra (as well as other Lower Mainland Rotary clubs) and Rackets & Runners among others. Many of our clinic volunteers are clients of Harbour Light’s live-in Substance Abuse Treatment program and their Community Residential Facility which provides residential services and counseling support to individuals on conditional release from Federal Institutions. This provides an avenue for these clients to help others and develop a sense of community during the time they’re receiving treatment.
Where do all the shoes come from?
We have a close relationship with the running community as many of the shoes we distribute are donated by recreational and/or competitive runners. Runners typically retire their shoes after several hundred kilometers of training and/or racing as the cushioning wears out and puts them at risk of injury. However, these shoes are still very useful for our clients to walk around in.
We collect shoes at Vancouver area running events. We collected shoes at the Vancouver Sun Run in 2013 and are doing so again this year.
We also receive shoes from several local companies. Mountain Equipment Co-op donates customer return as well as dead-stock shoes. The Quick Cobbler collects shoes from their customers and donates them to us through their Homeless Shoes Program.
The shoe collection side of our project is know as ShoeRenu. By donating your used shoes you’re helping someone in need and getting the most out of the shoes before they go to the landfill.
Please see our Drop-Off Locations page to see where you can take your shoes to donate them. If you have a large quantity of shoes that’s not convenient for you to transport, we can arrange for them to be picked up. Please go to the contact page and email us with your request.
How many people do you help?
Now in it’s 7th year, the project has grown to serve an average of over 600 clients at each clinic. The clinics are operated 3 to 4 times per year. To date, we’ve distributed over 10,000 pairs of shoes and socks to people in need in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside.