The shoe drive is part of Upstate’s “Helping Hands for Forgotten Feet” program that was awarded a $9,000 grant from Alpha Omega Alpha, a national medical honor society with chapters at 120 medical schools.
It is one of only three programs nationwide to receive the AOA award.
Last year’s drive collected about 500 pairs of shoes, and Upstate medical student coordinator Matt Helm is hoping to increase that to 800 pairs this year.
“No one should be shoeless in Syracuse in winter,” Matt said.
Donation bins will be in Weiskotten Hall on the first and ninth floors, and in the lobbies of Geneva, Jefferson and Madison towers.
Gently used shoes of all kinds will be accepted. Whatever shoes can’t be worn by clients at the Rescue Mission can be sold at the charity’s thrift stores, so no pair goes to waste.
In addition to the shoe drive, “Helping Hands for Forgotten Feet” consists of monthly foot care clinics and ongoing foot care education programs at the Rescue Mission.
The program began last year after Matt and Upstate classmate Stefanos Haddad volunteered at the Rescue Mission through Upstate’s Center for Civic Engagement.
They talked with staff and determined one of the most needed services was a foot care clinic for their clients, especially those suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart problems.
That led to “Helping Hands” and the winning grant application.