As Boston gets colder by the day and the snow falls all around, many of us strap on our favorite winter boots, keeping our feet warm and protected. However, in our very own greater Boston community, there are hundreds of people (women, men, children) without a good quality pair of shoes in their closets, unknowingly exposing themselves to foot conditions like frostbite and other dangerous infections. An often overlooked problem, our Boston-based nonprofit women empowerment organization, Women Who Win, wanted to help solve this issue through launching an exciting philanthropic initiative, The Shoe Project.
This Holiday Season, the Women Who Win team spearheaded shoe donations and also provided foot health educational materials to Boston populations in dire need, including Haitian refugees, women’s shelter residents, and adult day health centers. They partnered with renowned companies and organizations including Hoka Apparel to ensure we are providing high-quality, podiatrist approved shoes.
Haitain refugees have faced a significant plight, and there are hundreds of them across Massachusetts, struggling to find basic essentials. A major humanitarian crisis around the world and in our neck of the woods, the Women Who Win team excitedly joined the Gift of Gratitude project on December 19th, an event where they provided vaccine clinics, and other basic essentials like blankets etc. to Haitians in need. We led a shoe donation drive at the event with the Indian Medical Association of New England (IMANE), and were able to donate over 150 shoes to these refugees. The First Haitian-American City Councilor of Boston Ruthzee Louijeane stated, “It was really wonderful to see communities coming together to support our immigrants. We are in a difficult season right now that really asks us to look out for each other. Few things demonstrate that more than welcoming the stranger in our midst.”
Women’s shelters also expressed a strong need for new shoes for their residents. We organized donations with the St Patricks Shelter in Somerville Massachusetts, and at the Forever Young Adult Day Care in Hyde Park. Residents at the shelter often work 2 jobs a day to make ends meet, in worn-out shoes putting their feet at risk and discomfort. The women were elated to receive a new pair of shoes for the new year, and felt empowered and equipped in their new footwear. The thrill of a new pair of shoes is one we can all relate too, and we were excited to provide this feeling to over 150 women across these shelters.
The Shoe Project is a philanthropic initiative under Women Who Win, a nonprofit organization founded by three Boston residents, Dr. Manju Sheth, Dr. Deepa Jhaveri, and Shaleen Sheth. Dr Manju Sheth is a physician at Beth Israel Lahey health with a passion for media. She is president and Co- founder of INE multimedia and Women Who Win. Dr. Deepa Jhaveri is a podiatrist and the President-Elect of the Indian Medical Association of New England. Shaleen Sheth is a co-founder of Women Who Win with a passion for technology and nonprofit leadership. The Shoe Project was born with the mission to empower communities one step at a time.
The Shoe Project has worked with and been supported by IMANE, Boston Medical Center, the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association), Deckers X Lab, Hoka Apparel, Lion’s Club, and Rotary Club. Our co-founder, Dr. Deepa Jhaveri, a podiatrist states, “this project is very close to my heart as it ties in my profession and my Indian roots to create an immense impact in the daily lives of hundreds of people by preventing limb threatening foot infections. This project has also created a buzz in the podiatry community, particularly with Indian-American podiatrists as well as major footwear companies who have offered tremendous support for this initiative.”
To support The Shoe Project and Donate Shoes to a Local Community in Need with Women Who Win, visit them here