Help for the Sole (Souls)at VMC
Volunteer Ministry Center VMC
Taking care of our feet is something we all need to do but it can be a difficult task for those without a home.
Some East Tennessee college students are making it a little easier.
The Volunteer Ministry Center's mission is finding supportive housing for people who need it. The VMC also partners with other organizations to provide certain services.
"I'm going through a program at the VMC and just heard about the foot clinic and I thought it sounded pretty cool so I came on down to check it out," Jeff Burchfield said.
He checked out the once-a-month program where Carson-Newman University nursing students practice their skills in a practical way.
"I do a lot of walking. I don't have my vehicle here my vehicle is back in New Orleans so I do a lot of walking and I just had surgery so you need great shoes," he said.
Carson-Newman Associate Professor of Nursing Cynthia Lynn said, "We call it Help for the Sole but it's also help for the soul, S-O-U-L."
Her students encourage the clients as they care for their feet and care for them as people.
"There's someone out there who cares. There's someone out there who says hey I can really understand and I want to empathize with you and I really want to make a difference in your life and I want to connect with you," she said.
Carson-Newman student Keisha Long said, "It's much more than a pedicure. And I think for them. that's what a lot of them were saying, they've never had anybody take the time to look at their feet. We spend time talking to them so it's more than just the physical it truly is help for the souls."
Keisha Long sees the transformation in their feet as well as their outlook.
Jeff Burchfield said he appreciates the Help for the Sole program and plans to come back next month.
"Normally I don't like people messing with my feet but she was terrific when she was doing it and it made you feel normal. Made my feet feel better and I got shoes and everything," he said.
They get a bag with a pair of shoes, a pair of socks, foot powder, and lotion. Everyone leaves with a list of foot care tips. It's practical advice for keeping their feet healthy.
"We want to make sure that if possible that they're wearing the right size, they're wearing shoes that are supportive and those are some of the things that help to cut back on some of the foot issues they may have," Keisha Long said.
Beyond the practical is the spiritual and a connection between college students and those who need a little help.
Jeff Burchfield said, "They make you smile. Make you feel like a human being."
"Help for the Sole is help for my soul as well. S-O-U-L," Keisha Long said.
To learn more about the Help for the Sole (Souls) ministry, contact Carson-Newman's Nursing Department at 865-471-3425.
The program needs new and gently used sneakers and shower shoes. Call the Cherokee Health Systems Broadway Clinic for specifics on how to donate. 865-525-2104.