When you're homeless, your feet are your most-used tool. According to a 2016 paper, most homeless people spend five or more hours on their feet every day. Many are unable to wash their feet or change their socks regularly, and often have no access to appropriately sized shoes. These factors lead to an increased risk of foot conditions, with nearly two-thirds of homeless people suffering from infections, ulcers, deformities, ingrown toenails, nerve damage from uncontrolled diabetes, physical foot injuries, frostbite or gangrene.
It's not a pretty picture, but Union College students have been helping to alleviate this additional burden felt by the homeless since 1993. Hosted by Matt Talbot Community Kitchen and Outreach, each month Lincoln's homeless and near-homeless population are invited to receive foot care from nursing or PA students.
The Union College students clean their clients' feet, trim and file nails and take care of any wounds or other concerns that need to be addressed. The students soften callouses with a pumice stone and apply antifungal cream when needed, giving the client a tube of cream to take with them. It's a check-up and pedicure all in one; the students even offer the option of painting toenails. After the foot care is complete, each client receives two pairs of socks, and qualify for a new pair of shoes every six months.
While the care is happily donated by Union College students, they rely on supporters like you to make fund the socks, shoes and ointments. Your generosity literally goes for miles. Thank you.