After a two-year hiatus, the Our Hearts to Your Soles David Lewis Memorial event returned to the Saint Paul Opportunity Center. This was the 15th year that the popular event has come to the Twin Cities to benefit individuals served by Catholic Charities. This year’s collaborative effort featured a number of benefits to participants:
- Covid vaccinations provided by volunteer nurses from M Health Fairview.
- Free legal advice offered pro-bono by local law firms.
- A central station where physicians and specialists examined feet, trimmed nails and calluses, and engaged with guests to provide relief and foot care best-practices.
- New pairs of socks, donated by hippy feet, which gives 50 percent of their profits to “non-profits serving young people experiencing homelessness.”
- Finally, new shoes courtesy of Red Wing Shoes, which donated 650 pairs of walking shoes and boots. (An additional 50 pairs of shoes were donated by FjallRaven, an online retailer.)
When asked what keeps this event going, Dr. Lance Silverman says, “I love to see how everyone feels after the event…after they’ve had a chance to connect with the Catholic Charities’ clientele, and to help them into a new pair of shoes.” A board-certified orthopaedic surgeon with specialty training in management of ankle and foot issues, Dr. Silverman has been the heart of this event for many years. It is through his vision that more than 100 partners, including leaders in the prosthetic and orthotics field, come together to embody the tenets of Catholic Social Teaching, literally caring for the feet of those experiencing homelessness as they utilize emergency shelter and supportive services of Catholic Charities. “It’s especially gratifying to see all the partners and providers bringing their kids to participate and teaching them the very best about philanthropy.”
One of those volunteers was Ireland Hurley, 21, from Apple Valley. “My mom (volunteer Kelly Hurley) raised me to give back,” Hurley notes. “The first year of the event, I started as a runner and just fell in love with it. This is my sixth year in a row volunteering. Now I know so many of the staff and other volunteers. It feels really good to come together again and give back in this way!”
After several years taking place the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the Our Hearts to Your Soles event was scheduled in July this year, in part to keep participants safe from the pandemic and to take advantage of more hospitable weather. From the smiles on departing faces to the shiny new shoes on feet, this year’s event was another successful partnership from a community coming together to care.
Tony Baisley is Director of Marketing and Communications for Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Tony brings more than 25 years’ experience as a marketer, storyteller and message strategist to his role. In a career that started in advertising and PR agencies, Tony also has significant experience directing marketing/communication within higher education, corporate communications as well as non-profits. He is happiest amplifying the messages of mission-driven organizations while providing creative platforms to share the voices of clients and residents served by Catholic Charities.