ADU Denver Nursing Students Provide Foot Care for Homeless

News Chris Feldbush

Following in Christ's Footsteps

Whether we like to admit it or not, it's easy to view community service as a requirement that must be fulfilled to pass a class rather than an opportunity to help those less fortunate than we are. This, however, was not the case with 4th year Denver BSN Nursing student, Heidi Pennock.

Once a week, churches from all over Denver meet at Church in the City for an event dubbed “Christ’s Body Ministries.” The goal is to help the underserved and homeless population of the Denver Metro Area. When she first attended, Heidi became aware that one of the most prominent needs for this population is foot care. With this knowledge in mind, Heidi’s community service project began to take shape. Providing much needed foot care for the homeless and underserved was an obvious need she couldn’t ignore. She began collecting new and gently used socks from the ADU Denver campus family to use for her project.

When I sat down with Heidi to talk about her Sock Drive project, she revealed how something as simple as foot care can develop trust between two people. Heidi learned that when someone allows you to take care of their feet, they are much more likely to open up and share details of their life. As I continued to talk with Heidi, I could tell she wasn’t just treating this as a requirement that must be fulfilled for class. It was a passion project that she was truly excited about.

In addition to socks, Heidi says foot-washing seemed like an obvious service to provide. The idea is to provide a foot-washing service for Christ’s Body Ministries' weekly meal times. The ministry's workers wash the feet of the homeless and underserved, and then provide them with fresh socks in exchange for their dirty ones. The hope is to make a connection and also offer other services like legal or housing services. The program is seeing success as most recently, Heidi showed up and there were already 8 people waiting in line ready to have their feet washed and receive a fresh pair of socks.

“The act of washing feet has been like a portal,” Heidi says. Through this, Heidi has not only been able to provide much needed foot care to a portion of the Denver population, but she has also been able to practice healthcare as a ministry.

We encourage anyone who has the same passion as Heidi, to provide fresh socks and shoes to the Sock Drive project. If interested, please contact ADU Denver Executive Director, Katie Shaw, at Katie.Shaw@adu.edu for additional information on how to get involved. As Heidi hopes to eventually use her nursing degree to work in community health, I get the feeling that this is just the beginning of the impact that Heidi will make.