April 12, 2024

Street Kicks student organization for patients without shoes expands to Detroit Receiving Hospital

The Wayne State University School of Medicine student organization Street Kicks has added an additional location for the community to donate new and gently-used shoes for patients being discharged from the hospital without adequate footwear. 

Allison Boland presented a poster last year on the student organization's community impact.

Street Kicks was founded by Class of 2024 students Susan Wager and Nina Bordeau Gust. While on rotation at Henry Ford Hospital early last year, the students watched a patient who was experiencing homelessness walk out of the hospital with only yellow hospital socks to cover his feet. Deeply concerned about the man and others like him, Wager and Bourdeau got to work immediately after that shift, purchasing a shoe rack and asking for shoe donations from colleagues, peers, friends and family.

Since then, the group has given 140 shoes to Detroit patients to date. Student members also include new board members and Class of 2025 students Allison Boland and Michaela Kearney.

In addition to Henry Ford Hospital, shoes are now available for distribution at Detroit Receiving Hospital. The organization plans to expand to Harper Hospital later this spring.

The shoes are free to patients who need them at Henry Ford Hospital and Detroit Receiving Hospital.

Inadequate footwear has a significant impact on musculoskeletal health and injury prevention and can create a cycle of problems. Beyond foot pain, injury and toe deformities, a lack of appropriate footwear can result in diminished mobility and hygiene. In turn, a person may face employment and financial instability, which then further limits access to footwear and other basic necessities.

“Our aim is to help make sure all patients leave with proper footwear to improve mobility and help pain,” Boland said.

Boland presented the “Street Kicks: A Shoe Donation Initiative” at the 2023 Movement is Life Summit Conference, held last November in Washington, D.C.

Students, faculty and staff may donate shoes and socks in a drop-off box located in the Shiffman Medical Library. Shoes must be in good condition (clean, without holes or excessive wear). Men’s sizes 9, 10 and 11 are especially needed.

“I also want to recognize and thank local businesses for donating, specifically Gazelle Sports in Birmingham,” Boland said.

To donate shoes or support the organization, email streetkicks1@outlook.com. Follow them on Instagram @streetkicksdetroit.

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