Meet Judy, a volunteer at Brother Francis Shelter’s Foot Clinic, a program she helped start more than nine years ago.
Judy had heard about nurses who would wash the feet of homeless men and women in Anchorage, and she wanted to join them. She smiles warmly when she remembers the first time she cleaned a person’s feet.
The woman told her, “This is the first time I’ve felt like a human being.”
Judy says that she knew then and there she wanted to volunteer again.
At first, the Foot Clinic occurred once a month, on the fourth Tuesday. There was one station and just a few volunteers. However, now it’s a regular occurrence that has expanded to twice monthly, adding the second Wednesday as well. Over the years, with the help of hundreds of volunteers, Judy’s team has washed thousands of people’s feet.
You might wonder what foot washing entails. Each session lasts about 15 minutes. Volunteers start by using a bucket with Epsom salt to soak the person’s feet, Johnson & Johnson’s baby soap to wash them, and surgical sponges to scrub them clean. Next, they look for blisters and sores, check sensitivities, and see if there are signs of diabetes. Finally, the volunteers clip the person’s toenails. If the person wants, the volunteer also applies lotion and powder. Each client always gets a new pair of socks.
In fact, Hanes is donating 2,500 pairs of socks to Brother Francis Shelter, and the shipment is coming in soon. Many of these socks will go directly to the Foot Clinic. Learn more about the Hanes’ Sock Drive.
Many of the Foot Clinic volunteers are medical or nursing students. These people realize how integral foot care is, not to mention an indicator of overall health. But being in the medical profession is not a prerequisite. Anyone can help. Would you like to wash people’s feet too? Judy makes sure new volunteers, whether they’re in the medical profession or not, get paired with an experienced foot washer the first few times.
You might not always be able to walk a mile in someone’s shoes, but at our Foot Clinic with Judy you can always make sure people’s feet are clean and healthy.
Want to read more stories like Judy’s? Check out The Woman Who Greets You or look on our Blog. You can also read The Anchorage Press’s story on Judy and the Foot Clinic.