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Charity’s sole purpose is the homeless

Pearl Stoker is the leading lady behind Cowichan’s foot clinic for the homeless. - Ashley Degraaf/file
Pearl Stoker is the leading lady behind Cowichan’s foot clinic for the homeless.
— image credit: Ashley Degraaf/file

Pearl Stoker is reminding folks — at a time when her foot care program’s services are most in demand — new volunteers and care supplies are always needed.

Stoker started the St. Peter’s church program to help the Soles of the Homeless, in April 2011 but is hoping to expand to help more needy people, especially ones living in the woods along the Cowichan River.

But before her services can reach any further, she needs assistance filling several gaps.

The group’s current wishlist includes general volunteers (no experience necessary), as well as nurses and health care aid volunteers, donations of new diabetic socks, socks in general, shoes for walking in all types of weather, and individual cash donations, as well as corporate donations and sponsorships.

The program serves an average 14 to 16 clients per clinic, and operates on the third Tuesday of every month at the Warmland House shelter in Duncan.

“As we go into the winter, it can be really difficult, particularly for folks who already have a health problem,” said Stoker.

The program was created after foot care was identified as a major health need for the homeless in the valley — few, if any, hands-on services were available for the marginalized.

“The homeless are not a homogenous group. Many came to being in that position by injuries, redundancies, serious medical conditions, childhood sexual abuse, marriage breakups, and mental illness etc,” said Stoke in a press release.

Volunteers are only required to commit two to four hours a month to assist with a number of duties. Foremost are skin and nail care (as most homeless walk a great deal, often in wet and ill-fitting footwear), and handing out free shoes and socks.

But they could also include providing folks with conversation, support and encouragement, lunches (made by a rotation of regional churches), and assistance with referrals to other health professionals in the community if needed.

Folks interested in volunteering can contact Stoker at 250-710-1212.

Donations can be made by cheque to: The Anglican Parish of St Peter, Quamichan, 5800 Church Road, Duncan, BC V9L 5M3 or via PayPal on the St Peter’s website via the ‘DONATE’ button http://stpeter-duncan.ca/

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