In partnership with Catholic Charities, Dr. Stephen Conti recently hosted his 11th annual nonprofit Our Hearts to Your Soles initiative alongside fellow foot-care professionals. With supplies donated by Red Wing Shoe Company and Superfeet, Conti and his colleagues from around the country gave some 6,000 donated shoes and 8,000 pairs of socks to disadvantaged and homeless people across more than 20 cities.
Conti and a team of UPMC foot care professionals provided free foot examinations to local adults in need. Volunteers from Colaizzi Pedorthic Center and University of Pittsburgh prosthetic and orthotics students fitted participants with shoes. This year’s event served clients from a variety of organizations, including Catholic Charities, Light of Life, Jubilee Kitchen, Operation Safety Net and 411 Youth Zone.
“It is sad, but so often do we see the homeless with ill-fitted shoes, which often leads to additional stress to one’s health and wellness,” Conti said.
Our Hearts to Your Soles was founded in Pittsburgh in 2004 by Conti, an orthopaedic surgeon at UPMC, and his family after seeing the problems caused by improper footwear. Since then, the program has expanded and now hosts events around Thanksgiving at over 20 sites across the country.
“We are delighted to be able to provide this critical service to our brothers and sisters in need,” said Susan Rauscher, executive director of Catholic Charities. “It’s relatively easy to source winter clothes for clients, but well-fitting shoes are another question.”