Monday, January 2, 2012

Yes You Can -- Sara's Shoe Drive

Today's blog introduces a new monthly series about people who have made a difference because they stepped out and did something bigger than themselves.  Let's start with Sara. I met her through her blog, and that is where I heard her story.

Sara is a nurse in a psychiatric hospital in Michigan, where, she says, "our patients are often indigent and homeless. Believe it or not, several times a month we admit people without a pair of shoes. A single pair of shoes." The hospital issue socks these patients receive when they are admitted are sufficient for their stay in the hospital but they have no shoes to wear upon their discharge. And Michigan, especially in winter, is no place to be without shoes.

"So when they are ready to leave the hospital," writes Sara, "we need to give these guys a pair of shoes.  Our staff donates a lot of shoes and clothing for our patients but there never seem to be enough shoes.

"I have seen staff take the shoes off of their own feet and go home in stocking feet because there were no appropriate shoes in the right size for their patient.

"I have seen staff go home to get their kid's shoes to bring back to a patient.

"I have seen staff take up a collection to buy a pair of shoes because all of our ideas ran out.

"I have seen a patient cry as he laced up a pair of used tennis shoes. I've also seen a man who had to wear women's shoes for discharge, it was all we could find."

"Do you have any shoes that are in decent shape that your family doesn't wear? If you could consider giving these shoes to our patients, you will make an incredible impact on  a simple human need," Sara asked her readers. "While you are going through your closet, cold weather clothing and jackets are appreciated too."

This request was posted on September 25. On October 1 she reported that the staff was re-organizing the hospital's clothing closet and how they would identify people's needs.  And on October 5 she reported, "Every morning our leadership team huddles to discuss the current hospital concerns. Yesterday I shared our progress.  They couldn't believe it.  People you've never met? Yup! Bags full of wonderful shoes (and clothes?) A box of brand new shoes? Yup and yup!

"Your generous response and allowing the Holy Spirit to use you to touch lives has had a profound impact. In fact, it's started a revolution!" The hospital leadership team got behind Sara's dream for an entire room of shoes and clothes to give away to patients. And rather than the staff exchanging white elephant gifts for Christmas, they requested that contributions be made to the clothing closet instead.

"I wish I could have captured on film the first young lady who asked if we had any shoes for her when we handed her a brand new pair of tennis shoes, still in the box that had been lovingly donated by Margie. 'Are these new? Oh my God these are brand new shoes? Oh thank you Jesus.'

"I set out to do a better job of meeting a need but to see the feeling of restored dignity of someone getting a pair of shoes is both heartbreaking and exhilarating" (December 8 post).

If you'd like to help support Sara's clothing closet, check out her blog to learn how. And if you feel the nudge to do something similar in your own part of the world, what's stopping you?


Cami said...

Your post is timely for me. In prepping with Carrie B. for midweek I know we are coming up on an emphasis of needing to have eyes that look for what needs to be done and doing it. This ties in so well with that. Thank you for your encouragement!

Sara said...

I'm so honored and thankful that you have chosen to share our project with your readers. As the weather here in Michigan has turned cold we find ourselves in more need than ever for appropriate clothing and shoes, especially for those discharging to a homeless shelter. Thank you for your sweet words and we are thankful for your prayers as we serve the often forgotten people in metro Detroit. Hugs!

Margie said...

Stoppin' in via my friend Sara! Gonna check your blog out! thanks for loving us in the D!

Ginger Kauffman said...

Thanks for stopping by, Margie, welcome!

Elizabeth said...

Wonderful ! ! !

Joan Husby said...

I love your idea for a monthly series, and I love to hear God's heartbeat through the compassion shown by people like Sara. . .and you.