FRESH DIRT > This Friday, Nov 25, Santa Cruz will join 40 other U.S. cities to provide shoes to those who need them. The Santa Cruz Homeless Shelter has partnered with the Soles4Souls Conti Project to help relieve some of the foot pain that the homeless often experience as a result of wearing old, ill-fitting, or low-quality shoes.
Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Nicholos Abidi will be on hand to provide free foot examinations and to fit the donated shoes to recipients. He runs the Santa Cruz Orthopaedic Institute and has years of expertise in foot and ankle surgery. For Abidi, who has been working on the Soles4Souls project for five years, the event is a family affair: his two high school-aged children, Meghan Sabina Abidi and Colin Abidi, will also be on hand as volunteer program coordinators.
Beginning last year, Soles4Souls merged their efforts with Our Hearts to Your Soles, which was founded by Dr. Stephen Conti, a nationally recognized orthopedic surgeon. Today, the yearly event is known as the Conti Project and provides foot screenings and footwear to homeless people nationwide in the weeks surrounding Thanksgiving. In 2010, more than 8,000 people received free footwear through the project.
In Santa Cruz, shoes will be given only to residents of the Santa Cruz Homeless Shelter. Last year, more than 150 people received shoes at the shelter. Unlike some other clothing donation drives, the Conti Project only gives its recipients brand new shoes to ensure that they fit well and are high-quality products. This year, Keen Footwear will donate the shoes. In the past, Red Wing has donated shoes and boots to the project.
For more information about the Conti Project or to make a donation, visit soles4souls.org.