Helping the homeless one step at a time - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Helping the homeless one step at a time

Burlington, Vermont - November 24, 2010

These boots are made for walking.

For the third year in a row, COTS-- a shelter in Burlington-- held the Soles4Souls shoe and sock donation.

"It's important because it's a way for us to give back to the community to a segment of the community that is tremendously under-served," said Dr. Jim Michelson, an orthopedic surgeon.

A group of doctors sat down with those in need for a free foot and ankle screening, and to help create awareness on how to care for your feet even in trying times.

"Most of these folks, if their feet aren't working, as bad as their situation is, it becomes that much worse," Michelson said.

One-hundred-and-eighty pairs of boots and shoes, and about 80 pairs of Darn Tough socks were donated for the Soles4Souls program. People that we spoke with said that it's a much needed service.

"This is awesome too, because I just started working again last week, and I've been wearing shoes during construction and I need a good pair of boots so this is helping me out a lot," recipient Mike Buchanan said.

Some at the shelter realize that staying healthy is still of the utmost importance especially as winter nears.

"You need to keep your feet healthy too, in order to do anything. You can't work, you can't survive," Buchanan said.

Seeing an orthopedic specialist even for working professionals can be pricey. The volunteers at the program say you can't put a price tag on helping the homeless.

"That's why we're doing what we're doing" Michelson said. "And it's a way for us to donate our skills to a group of folks that otherwise wouldn't be served."

And couldn't come at a better time for those trying to keep back on their feet.

"I appreciate it a lot," Buchanan said.

And a decent pair of shoes is a step in the right direction.

Volunteers from the Norwich University Student Nurses Association were on hand to help fit the shoes. The orthopedic surgeons also set up referrals for more complex procedures needed.

Melinda Davenport - WCAX News

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